Lady receives a six figure sum after failure to carry out a lumbar puncture and CT scan following acute confusion

Mrs ST presented to hospital in October 2007 with confusion, headache, weakness and nausea.  Her husband, who accompanied her, felt that she was a ‘different person’.  She was diagnosed with benign tension headache secondary to a viral illness and discharged.

Mrs ST continued to suffer from problems with her memory and developed cognitive, mood and behavioural problems.  Her personality was altered. She found that she was unable to perform effectively at work.  In April 2010, she was advised that she had been suffering from herpes simplex encephalitis in October 2007 and that this was the cause of her problems.

The Claimant’s case was that she ought to have been admitted and undergone an urgent CT scan and lumbar puncture.  The investigations would have led to treatment with intravenous acyclovir and, with treatment, her condition would have been cured completely, or she would have had a significantly better outcome.

Although the Defendant Trust admitted that Mrs ST should have undergone a lumbar puncture and CT scan and, if she was suffering from herpes simplex encephalitis, she should have been treated with acyclovir, it was denied that Mrs ST was suffering from encephalitis and, additionally, that treatment with acyclovir would have made any real difference to the outcome.

Liability expert evidence was required from neurologists, virologists, neuro-radiologists and physicians.  Quantum was also extensively investigated before the case settled, two months before trial, for £955,000.

Mrs ST continues to have memory impairment, short attention span, difficulties in carrying out normal activities of daily living, irritability, clumsiness, depression and fatigue.  She is unable to work or drive safely and requires supervision in activities of daily living.

The compensation includes awards for loss of earnings and care.

Mr ST said “Whilst a good settlement was achieved in this case, the real victory for us was at the hearing, when there was formal acknowledgement by the Defendant’s barrister and the Judge that my wife had suffered and that they hoped this compensation would allow some easing of her problems”.

Nigel Spencer-Ley, of Farrar’s Building, was instructed. Moore Blatch’s clinical negligence solicitors, Tim Spring and Dr Mala Sidebottom, worked on this case.  Mala said: “It has taken an incredibly long time to secure compensation for Mrs ST.  I hope that this compensation will allow her to obtain the care and treatment that she needs, so that she can enjoy life again.”