Failure to diagnose tear in aorta, leading to death
45 year old Tom Bailey was taken to hospital by ambulance in the early hours of the morning suffering with severe chest pains. He was diagnosed with gastroenteritis, a urinary tract infection and benign positional vertigo. He was prescribed antacids and anti-emetics and sent home.
A few hours later, his wife took him to A&E as the pains in his chest and abdomen continued and had been sick twice. They were told that he had suspected appendicitis and he was admitted to hospital, where he had a number of tests before being discharged home four days later.
A few days after, he suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken to hospital where attempts to resuscitate him failed and he died. A post-mortem revealed that a tear in his aorta had caused his heart muscle to become filled with blood.
Death due to delayed diagnosis of cervical cancer
In October 2003, Diane Clarke went to see her GP, concerned about post-coital bleeding. She underwent a cervical smear test, followed by a biopsy. The biopsy revealed that she had cervical cancer. Her last test – in April of the previous year – had been reported as normal. However, on re-interpretation, it was revealed that the test had shown abnormal cells.
Mrs Clarke had a hysterectomy followed by radiotherapy and subsequent chemotherapy but the cancer spread to her lungs and spine and, despite treatment, she sadly died in early 2008.
Undiagnosed rectal cancer
Mr Lomax visited his GP on several occasions throughout 2008 and early 2009 complaining of abdominal pain and diarrhoea. After initial tests, he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and prescribed Metformin. Despite expressing repeated concerns about the continuing diarrhoea, and subsequently rectal bleeding, he was given alternative diabetic medication and antibiotics to treat, what was diagnosed as, an infection. When Mr Lomax visited a locum in the summer of 2009, he was referred for a colonoscopy. It was discovered that he had a large rectal tumour and, after two periods of chemotherapy, Mr Lomax later died the following year.
Failure to report an abnormal cervical smear
Mrs Hayes had a cervical smear after complaining of vaginal discharge and cervical bleeding. The smear showed abnormal cells and it was therefore reported as being abnormal with a recommendation for a further smear one year later. The repeat smear test performed a year later also showed formation of abnormal cells, but on this occasion it was wrongly reported as normal. As a result, the cervical cancer went untreated and Mrs Hayes died.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim on behalf of Mrs Hayes’s family on the basis that if the second smear test had been reported correctly, the cancer would have been diagnosed and treated and Mrs Hayes would have survived.
Delayed diagnosis of breast cancer
On detecting a lump in her breast Miss Jones saw a consultant for a clinical examination, tests were done and she was advised that it was a fatty lump which was entirely benign. Some months later, the lump began to enlarge and Miss Jones was diagnosed with cancer and had to undergo a mastectomy.
We pursued a claim for Miss Jones because the original tests had not been carried out properly leading to a 20-month delay in diagnosis. If the cancer had been diagnosed earlier a mastectomy would not have been necessary.
Incorrect diagnosis of lung cancer
Following a chest X-ray, Mrs Gooding was told she had lung cancer, however a subsequent bronchoscopy showed no tumour. Relying only the chest X-ray and a further CT scan, the doctors decided to remove her right lung. After the operation it was discovered that there was in fact no evidence of malignancy.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim for Mrs Gooding for the unnecessary removal of her lung.
Delayed diagnosis of meningitis
Tamsin was seven years old when she was admitted to A&E, complaining of aching limbs and diarrhoea. She was lethargic and dehydrated and had had a high temperature for four days. She was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and discharged with a prescription for antibiotics. The following day, she had pain in her neck and back, had a headache and was vomiting. The paramedics who took her to hospital in the ambulance also noted that she had photophobia. She was diagnosed with tonsillitis along with a urinary tract infection and dehydration. It was subsequently found that she had pneumococcal meningitis, which took her a long time to recover from and she was left with unsteadiness, weakness throughout her left side and mood and behavioural changes.
Undiagnosed acute cardiac condition leading to cardiac arrest and brain damage
Mrs Palmer arrived at work at the antenatal clinic where she worked as a midwife and felt unwell. She was pale, had palpitations and was sweating profusely and her colleague, a consultant obstetrician, asked for a medical registrar to be called to see her. No-one responded and Mrs Palmer was left alone in a room. When a health visitor checked up on her, she had suffered a cardiac arrest and had collapsed on the floor. She suffered severe brain damage and was unconscious in ITU for several days.
See here for a more in-depth version of this delayed diagnosis claim handled by Roger Wicks.
Late diagnosis and treatment of a subdural empyema
Seven year old Tyler was lethargic and sleepy and started to complain of back pain and intermittent headaches. He then started vomiting. After a visit to the hospital and then to his GP, he was diagnosed with a chest infection and prescribed antibiotics. He was later found to have a subdural abscess for which he required surgery. A craniotomy left him with a skull defect that needed to be covered by a titanium plate and he was left with epilepsy and weakness.
Delayed diagnosis of dislocated shoulder
Miss French tripped and injured her shoulder. She was told by her GP to move it as much as possible. However, it was extremely painful and she had to arrange full-time residential care as she was unable to look after herself. Three weeks later, she was examined by another GP who referred her to hospital where, it was found, she had a dislocated shoulder.
See here for a more in-depth version of this delayed diagnosis claim.
Failure to diagnose DVT
After Mr Green had fractured his right ankle and his leg had been put in a cast, he developed pain in his calf. Despite complaining to his GP and the hospital, he was reassured that there were no problems. Mr Green’s pain continued and when the cast was finally removed it was discovered that he had developed a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
We pursued a claim for Mr Green on the basis that his plaster should have been removed as soon as he developed calf pain and investigations should have been carried out which would have resulted in diagnosis of the DVT. Earlier treatment would have avoided ongoing complications.
Failure to treat DVT
Mr Blears went to his GP complaining of shooting pains in his right calf and tightness in his chest. Some months earlier he had suffered from DVT, which had been resolved after taking medication. The GP told him that his blood pressure was too low and sent him home. A few days later Mr Blears collapsed at home and died.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim on behalf of Mr Blears’s family for the failure by the GP to refer Mr Blears to hospital where the diagnosis of DVT and pulmonary embolism would have been made and he would have received treatment that would probably have prevented his death.
Failure to provide DVT prophylaxis
Mr Hill was advised that he needed surgery after injuring his back. However, due to an administrative error, he remained in hospital waiting for the operation for two weeks, during which time he developed DVT.
We pursued a claim for Mr Hill because he was at risk of developing DVT due to his prolonged period of immobility and should have received DVT prophylaxis.
Failure to diagnose DVT
Mr Jenkins attended hospital after developing a sudden pain in his left calf. He was advised to see his GP who prescribed antibiotics and painkillers. His condition worsened and despite going back to hospital on two further occasions no action was taken. Mr Jenkins began to have breathing difficulties and he was urgently admitted to hospital with suspected DVT/pulmonary embolism. He collapsed and died before treatment could be started.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim on behalf of Mr Jenkins’s family as the DVT should have been diagnosed and treated earlier, thereby avoiding the pulmonary embolism.
Delayed diagnosis of testicular torsion
Mr Evans presented at hospital with pain in his lower abdomen. On informing a doctor that his right testicle felt hard, he was told that he had an infection and was discharged with antibiotics. Some hours later the pain had not subsided and he re-attended hospital where he was referred for surgical exploration and a testicular torsion was revealed. The testicle was gangrenous and had to be removed.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim for Mr Evans as the torsion should have been diagnosed during his first attendance at hospital, when surgical correction would have prevented the loss of the testicle.
Delayed diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome
After knee surgery Mr Smith’s leg became painful and swollen, he was given morphine, his bed was elevated and an ice pack applied. He had developed compartment syndrome in which increased pressure in the tissues in his leg caused the blood supply to be cut off. There was a delay in diagnosing the compartment syndrome and in carrying out surgery to release the pressure in the leg leading to permanent injury.
Delayed diagnosis of development displasia of the hip (DDH)
DDH is a condition in which a baby’s hips fail to form properly. Sarah’s hips were tested at birth and a few weeks later but were wrongly assessed as normal. When Sarah began walking at 14 months, she appeared to have difficulties but her parents were reassured that there was no cause for concern. Sarah’s problems continued and one year later she was diagnosed as suffering from bilateral DDH. She had to undergo extensive corrective surgery and was left severely disabled.
We pursued a claim for Sarah on the basis that DDH could and should have been diagnosed and treated within a few weeks of Sarah’s birth and that this early treatment would have allowed her hips to develop normally. The Hospital denied liability and eventually the claim went to trial where the Judge found in Sarah’s favour and awarded compensation.
Failure to diagnose a perforated oesophagus
After swallowing a piece of lamb bone and experiencing discomfort, Mr Stevens attended hospital twice, only to be discharged on both occasions having been advised that he had scratched his throat. His condition worsened and days later he was admitted to hospital where he died of pneumonia and septicaemia. Post mortem examination revealed that Mr Stevens’s oesophagus had been perforated by the lamb bone.
We pursued a misdiagnosis claim on behalf of Mr Stevens’s widow on the basis that there was unreasonable delay in diagnosing and treating the oesophageal perforation. Evidence from independent medical experts indicated that prompt treatment would have saved Mr Stevens’s life.
If you think you may have a claim for compensation because of a misdiagnosis or diagnosis delay, please call us now on freephone 0800 321 3112 and speak in confidence to one of our advisers. Alternatively, please complete our online enquiry form and we will contact you.