£47,500 for a missed appendicitis diagnosis

The female claimant was awarded total damages of £47,500.00 following a hospital's missed diagnosis of appendicitis.

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Case details


The claimant was aged 61 when she visited her GP complaining of abdominal pain and a high temperature. On examination her abdomen was tender. Her GP referred her to the defendant's hospital on the basis that she believed she was suffering with appendicitis.

Blood tests were carried out on admission to the hospital. Although the claimant had not reported any urinary problems, the clinician who admitted her believed she may be suffering with a urinary issue. Having been given three doses of intravenous antibiotics and pain killers the claimant was advised that they would need to carry out an ultrasound scan.

Two days later the claimant was discharged from hospital and asked to telephone to arrange the scan as there were delays. She was told that the scan would not be carried out for six to eight weeks but due to increased levels of pain she attempted to bring it forward. It was arranged six days after being discharged.

Having had the ultrasound, a CT scan was also performed which showed a large amount of pus in the claimant's abdomen.

Having been transferred to another hospital, she underwent an open laparotomy where it was discovered that her appendix had ruptured resulting in pus in her abdomen. Her large and small bowel was perforated and it was necessary to carry out a hemicolectomy and primary anastomosis.

She remained in hospital for fourteen days before being discharged.

The injury meant that the claimants bowel movements became more frequent and had to be controlled with medication. She would have to take this medication for the rest of her life.

She was left with a midline scar but had the diagnosis been made earlier it is possible that only keyhole surgery would have been required so the scars would have been smaller.

Prior to the accident she had worked full time but felt unable to do so after the accident. This resulted in a loss of income and pension contributions.

The claimant alleged that the defendant had been negligent as they had not thoroughly investigated the problems that she had reported. The defendant accepted that there had been a breach of duty but reserved their position on causation.

Conclusion and Settlement

After a period of negotiations between the claimant and defendant an out of Court settlement for damages was agreed. Total damages were agreed at £47,500 with £35,000 of this being in respect of pain, suffering and loss of amenity.

Read more: clinical negligence compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher