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Fatal Claims

Death Due To Negligence

"The team were extremely professional in putting my needs first. There was a joined-up approach to catering for the client, and all lawyers involved were briefed and constructive."

Chambers UK 2019

Fatal Claims

Losing a loved one is devastating. But knowing that your loved one died due to negligence in their care makes the loss so much more difficult to comprehend.

You trust that healthcare professionals will do their best to keep their patients safe and treat them with the care and dignity that they deserve.

While medical professionals, including hospital doctors, General Practitioners and nurses do indeed go to work every day to do their best for the patients under their care, sometimes mistakes are made. Sometimes those mistakes can be so harmful they cause death.

Fatalities caused by medical negligence are thankfully rare. However, they do happen. Medical negligence occurs when a duty of care is owed but breached, leading to harm. Because of the rarity and implication of fatal claims, they often make the headlines.

Causes of fatalities have occurred due to:

· Delayed diagnosis in hospital

· Mismanagement in General Practice

· Reception and non-clinical staff: duty of care breached

· Misinformation leading to termination

Our client’s case

KRB was born in 2000 and was a patient at Whipp’s Cross Hospital. In the Autumn of 2014 he was feeling unwell, complaining of stomach pains and vomiting. He was kept off school but, remain unwell for several days and became more listless and was vomiting dark fluid.

His parents took him to the A & E department at Whipp’s Cross where he continued to vomit blood. Became increasingly more listless and experiencing great pain. After a considerable delay KRB was examined and tests taken. During the tests being taken KRB continued to vomit and complained of his stomach burning. A doctor asked if any other family members had been sick – no other member was unwell. KRB was given Dioralyte and sent home. He continued to be unwell at home and went to bed that evening. In the early hours of the morning KRB was found by his brother and he was vomiting. He was obviously very unwell and hallucinating. His parents called 999 and by the time the paramedics had arrived CPR needed to be performed on KBR as he had stopped breathing. Despite resuscitation, life support was switched off.

Once liability was admitted by the Trust damages were negotiated.

The family of KRB lodged a complaint with the Hospital, the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. The verdict was Natural Causes contributed by neglect.

An internal investigation was carried out by Bart’s Health NHS Trust which revealed KRB’s death was caused by peritonitis due to appendicitis. An incorredt diagnosis had been made by the medical team.

Our client received an award of £30,000 for a clinical negligence claim arising from the substandard care which caused the death of her son. The offer and award given was under the Fatal Accidents Act and the Law Reform Miscellaneous Provisions Act.

We are here to help

Here at Osbornes Law we have a team of medical negligence specialists who are here to help if you or a loved one has fallen foul of medical negligence. While we understand that the cost of medical negligence cases is currently a burden on the NHS, the compensation we get for our clients is wholly justifiable and brings about justice for the clients we represent.

We hope that by highlighting harm and fatalities caused by medical negligence through publicity and through the courts, we can force the NHS to become more transparent and accountable. We continue too, to campaign for more robust patient safety measures to be adopted and enforced to try to prevent the same negligence occurring again.

Our client’s case

Stephanie Prior acted for J, who was a dependent of C his partner. C suffered from epileptic seizures as a child and was on long-term medication for her epilepsy. She was under the care of a Consultant Neurologist and had been for many years.

In early 2013 , C who was 29 years old, suffered a tonic/clonic seizure while in bed. Her partner dialled 999 and explained to an operator what had happened. He was left in no doubt an ambulance was being sent. He then received a call from the ambulance service 13 minutes after the first call and J was told to telephone C’s GP as no ambulance was dispatched.

Her partner telephoned the GP to no avail and so he called 999 again as C had still not recovered. He asked that an ambulance be sent straight away.

The 999 call was incorrectly triaged and J was told to telephone C’s GP for the out of hour’s service. J did this but he was connected to a recorded message advising him to call NHS direct.

J then telephoned 999 again and said that C was still unwell and he was advised to stay by the phone and assumed help was on its way. An hour or so later J had to leave C and their daughter, who was 2 years of age as he had to go to work and he believed the ambulance was on its way. No ambulance was dispatched.

C collapsed again sometime after J had left their home and their daughter telephoned her father, to say that she could not wake up her mummy. J rang 999 again. This time, an ambulance was dispatched and C was pronounced dead, when they arrived. A post mortem report confirmed that her cause of death was Sudden Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP).

C’s family complained to the ambulance provider. Her partner instructed Osbornes Law to pursue the claim and a Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant and the response was a firm denial of causation despite partial admissions of breach. Proceedings were issued and served. A similar position was adopted in the subsequent Defence.

The parties duly instructed an expert each in the disciplines of paramedical treatment and epileptology. In addition, a loss of services report was also obtained by J.

A substantial way into the proceedings, however, the Defendant amended its Defence to admit that but for its breaches of duty, C would have been attended to by paramedics and would not have died. A joint settlement meeting eventually took place and there were several issues of concern between the parties, namely C’s condition and prognosis had she survived, C’s future earnings potential and whether J qualified as a “dependent” within the meaning of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. Issues were also raised in relation to C’s life expectancy and if she would have been fit enough to return to work in any event.

Despite these issues dependency claims for J and his daughter were successful. Following the Joint settlement meeting the case settled in January 2019.

Osbornes Law and fatal claims

If you believe a loved one has died due to medical negligence, you may have a valid claim for compensation. To find out more, get in touch with Osbornes Law today.

Our Promise to You

· We will review your potential claim by advising you on the NHS complaints procedure or other alternative procedure if your case does not relate to NHS care and treatment.

· We will not charge a fee for our time in reviewing your case.

· We can assist you with any issues that you may have regarding the complaints procedure or that you encounter in obtaining copies of your medical records.

· We will advise you of the course of action in respect of your case.

For a confidential chat call Stephanie Prior or Nicholas Leahy on 020 7485 8811 or complete the online contact form and we will get in touch.

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Introducing Your Medical Negligence Legal Team

Osbornes has an experienced team of specialist medical-negligence lawyers to assist with your case / situation

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Camden

Livery House, 9 Pratt Street, London NW1 0AE
Tel: 020 7485 8811 Fax: 020 7485 5660
DX Number 57053 Camden Town

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28A Hampstead High Street, Hampstead, NW3 1QA
Tel: 020 7485 8811 Fax: 020 7485 5660

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