"Clerical Error" resulted in six years of illness20 July 2010
Patient not given test results
Our client, in this case was a 27 year old female who had suffered since childhood with abdominal pain. When no diagnosis was made she was given to understand that she had irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
After years of suffering, tests were eventually carried out in 2001.
The tests performed, included a colonoscopy, a gastroscopy and a biopsy. The test results showed that the client was suffering from celiac disease but unfortunately the client was not informed of the diagnosis and she therefore assumed that the diagnosis was still irritable bowel syndrome, as previously advised and that she simply had to endure the symptoms. The Hospital doctor wrote to her GP, but failed to follow up the new diagnosis.
Mistake was noticed 6 years later
It was not until our client presented at her GP practice in June 2007 about a recurrent skin infection, that her GP checked her notes and noted a past history of celiac disease in a letter from the Hospital dating back to 2001.
Once the correct diagnosis was finally communicated to our client, she was advised to commence a gluten free diet and referred back to the hospital for dietary advice.
The Hospital later admitted that the delay between diagnosis and treatment was due to a “clerical error.”.
Thompsons Solicitors recovered compensation
As a result of the delay, our client suffered six additional years of tiredness, severe nausea, daily diarrhoea, abdominal bloating and severe abdominal pain twice a month.
In addition she had six years of added risk of developing small bowel lymphoma, which can occur due to failure to implement or adhere to a strict gluten free diet.
Thankfully, our client has managed to keep working and maintain a career despite the delayed treatment and as she was anxious to put the matter behind her and get on with her life, the claim for compensation was settled for £50,000 on a full and final settlement basis, rather than on a provisional damages basis.
Kashmir Uppal of Thompsons Solicitors said that this case demonstrates the importance of having good systems and follow up in place in hospitals to ensure that patients do not suffer due to simple errors of communication.
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