Osbornes Helps Client Who Suffered Permanent Injuries After Negligence Led To Sepsis 11 Sep 2020

Jodi Newton, Solicitor in Osbornes clinical negligence team, settled a claim earlier this month for her client, who suffered a very serious episode of sepsis and was hospitalised for over two months. He has been left with permanent neurological injuries.

Our client underwent chest surgery to remove a foreign body which had previously caused infection and to treat chronic inflammatory change. It was thought the foreign body may have been a filling which had been inadvertently swallowed by our client. Our client was swabbed to check for the possibility of infection. The swab was mislabelled with the name of a different patient and our client’s swab, which showed a serious infection but went unnoticed due to the mislabelling.

Our client was discharged from Hammersmith Hospital shortly after the surgery.

Six days later, he was admitted as an emergency patient, initially diagnosed with pneumonia. He continued to deteriorate and a CT scan showed significant collapse in his chest. Furthermore, the metal object was shown as still present on the radiology. A brain MRI scan taken after his admission showed multiple enhancing lesions and associated white-matter oaedema, interpreted as being consistent with septic embolic phenomena which is a highly dangerous condition and if left any longer could have proven fatal.

He had suffered a very serious sepsis infection and was an inpatient for over two months. He required extensive rehabilitation. It was our case that if the swab had been appropriately labelled , he would not have been discharged, particularly as his CRP levels (a simple blood test which shows infection) had significantly increased the day prior to discharge. This should have alerted the surgical team to the likelihood of ongoing infection in the lung because it was likely that not all of the foreign body had been removed. His treatment pathway would have been by intravenous antibiotics for 24-48 hours, followed by oral antibiotics and importantly, he would have avoided sepsis and permanent neurological injuries.

The infection identified on the operative swab was the source of the Claimant’s infection which had reached his heart and also caused brain abscesses and suitable treatment would have avoided those serious complications.

Jodi Newton comments:

“My client initially complained to the hospital however his complaint was generally rebuffed and he felt he had no alternative but to instruct solicitors. We obtained evidence from a cardio-thoracic surgeon, a microbiologist and a neurologist who were all supportive of the claim. After we served a Letter of Claim, the Trust denied liability and we therefore served court proceedings which were also defended.

We made an offer to settle this case however the Defendant responded inviting our client to discontinue his case. About six months later, however, the case was successfully settled for a sum of £70,000 even though the Defendant continued to maintain its denial of liability.”

Figures from The UK Sepsis Trust highlight that five people die from Sepsis every hour in the UK and 40% of survivors are left with life changing effects. For more information on how to spot the symptoms of sepsis please visit their website.

If you believe that you have suffered injury as a result of poor medical care, contact Jodi Newton or another member of our medical negligence team and we will be happy to have a confidential conversation with you and advice you of any next steps.

You can contact us by phone or by filling in an online enquiry form.

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