Delay in treating appendicitis

Posted by Patricia Wakeford on

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Mr B developed abdominal pain in early June 2005 and he went to his local trust the following day with nausea and pain, and was discharged home. By the following day he continued to deteriorate, his pain increased and he was vomiting. Later that day he was taken by ambulance to the trust and was discharged a few hours later. He was so unwell that a relative had to collect him and drive him home.

He went back to the same trust by ambulance the following day. He was drifting in and out of consciousness in the ambulance and was vomiting large amounts of blood stained fluid. Mr B was admitted to the trust however, no diagnosis was made and he remained in the Accident and Emergency department for some hours. A CT scan late that evening diagnosed possible appendicitis, but by this time Mr B's blood results were significantly abnormal and he had a high temperature.

Mr B was left until the following evening before surgery was performed. By this point he was so ill that he believed he was going to die. At surgery he was found to have a necrotic appendix lying in a pelvic abscess and was in a very poor condition. He required intensive care treatment and a prolonged stay in hospital.

Following these events, Mr B was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of his near death experience and his continuing psychological symptoms.

Prior to his surgery Mr B was and is now a very successful self-made business man. Due to his near death experience he was unable to deal with his business affairs as he had done pre-surgery. He has flash backs to his time in hospital and has difficulty concentrating. He was unable to develop his business in the way that he had planned prior to his surgery and he suffered significant financial loss as a result. Surgical, Psychiatric and Forensic Accountancy evidence was obtained in support of this complex clinical negligence claim.

The trust admitted that Mr B should have been admitted on his second attendance to the trust and should have had surgery 24 hours earlier than he did. However, they denied that he had PTSD or had suffered any financial loss as a result of their admitted failures in care.

Following intense negotiations at a pre-trial Case Management Conference Mr B accepted £110,000 in full and final settlement of his claim. He received the acknowledgement that he wanted from the trust through this settlement that he had suffered business losses as a result of his psychological condition post surgery.

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About the Author

Patricia is a Senior Associate, in our Clinical Negligence team, and is also a qualified midwife with many years of experience working in the NHS.

Patricia Wakeford
Email Patricia
023 8085 7310

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