Richard Orwell developed a painful lump in his left nostril. He was prescribed antibiotics by his GP for an infected polyp but then, in addition to his nasal problem, he began to experience pain in his joints and muscles, pain in his face and a sensitive scalp and so his GP referred him to an ENT consultant. The consultant ordered an urgent biopsy under local anaesthetic. However, he was given an appointment for a procedure under general anaesthetic to take place some weeks later.
In the meantime, Mr Orwell’s health continued to deteriorate and he developed bruised and swollen gums, a small lump next to one of his testicles and he began to lose weight. His GP suggested a possible diagnosis of Wegener’s Granulomatosis and referred him to hospital to the Emergency Assessment Unit.
The following day, the abscess in his groin burst and he was treated with intravenous antibiotics. He then developed a raised purple rash over both elbows and it was noted that his heart rate was fluctuating and he was suffering alternating tachycardia and bradycardia. He then suffered cardiac arrest and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.
Jane Canning, pursued the claim on the basis that Mr Orwell should have been given a working diagnosis of Wegener’s Granulomatosis and treated with Cyclophosphanide and Prednisolone even before a biopsy was obtained.