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22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Helen Dolan

Woman left in wheelchair after bleed on the brain undetected

£2million compensation for woman after her GP failed to diagnose a brain haemorrhage. Pat and Derek were looking forward to their upcoming retirement and spending some well-earned time together when Pat, aged 59, fell over outside the house.

At first, Pat laughed off her fall but the following day she had developed a severe headache and came home from work.

Derek was worried about Pat and two days after the fall he called the GP surgery to request a home visit. The GP came out and saw Pat but despite being told about her fall, he put Pat’s illness down to a migraine.

The next day, Pat felt slightly better but the day after that her headache was much worse and Derek became increasingly worried as he thought she had become drowsy.

Derek phoned the GP again and was told to collect a prescription for migraine medication which he did and helped Pat to take.

Later on that evening, Derek became even more concerned as Pat was drowsy and confused. He phoned the out of hours GP service but was reassured that her symptoms were probably related to the migraine medication she had taken earlier in the day.

Pat continued to deteriorate so Derek called the out of hours GP for the second time. Once again he was reassured and told to wait until morning to see how Pat was.

Sadly Derek was woken up by Pat having a seizure. Derek knew some CPR and his quick action meant Pat was taken by ambulance to her local hospital where it was confirmed that she had suffered a bleed on her brain.

Pat has been left wheelchair-dependant and Derek now has to provide all of her care including getting her dressed, washed, go to the bathroom and take her medication, Pat has a gastromy which means she is fed by a tube and Derek makes sure this is clean and gives her feeds and fluids.

Derek approached specialist clinical negligence solicitor Helen Dolan at Hugh James as he was originally worried about the level of care Pat was receiving from the Local Authority.

On careful consideration, Helen realised that there was a clinical negligence claim and was able to investigate this on Pat’s behalf even though several years has passed.

Helen instructed specialist independent experts to provide opinions on whether or not Pat had been let down by her GPs and what her possible outcome could have been if she had been treated correctly.

Helen then approached the GPs via their insurance company and after setting out Pat’s case fully and providing the independent reports, Helen was able to achieve a settlement for Pat in the sum of £2 million.

This life-changing amount of money will allow Pat and Derek to move into a bungalow so Pat can get around inside and mean they can put in place private carers so Derek can go back to being Pat’s husband rather than her carer.

Helen Dolan, Partner at Hugh James, said:

Derek originally approached me about his concerns with the care Pat was receiving and was reluctant to pursue a clinical negligence claim.

However, the poor care Pat had to rely upon through statutory services led Derek to explore every option available to improve Pat’s quality of life. It became clear to me that the care provided to Pat by the GPs may have contributed to her outcome and need for care.

So I was delighted to be able to secure a settlement for Pat so the couple can put in place everything Pat needs and finally start to enjoy their retirement together as they had always planned.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Helen Dolan is Joint Head of the Manchester Office and Head of the Clinical Negligence team. Helen specialises in high value complex secondary brain injury, spinal cord injury (including cauda equina syndrome), birth injury, cerebral palsy and wrongful birth cases, and also has extensive experience of orthopaedic and surgical cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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