The standard of treatment that the majority of people receive in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments is very high, especially when we consider how busy they are, and the long hours that A&E doctors, nurses and staff often work.
In February, The Guardian* reported that one in six A&E departments are at risk of closure or downgrade, adding that hospitals are under severe strain. Almost half of NHS trusts declared a major alert in January and record numbers of hospitals have diverted ambulances to other hospitals.
Unfortunately, sometimes medical mistakes or misdiagnosing errors are made in A&E departments. Our senior Medical Negligence Solicitor, Daniel Comerford, provides two example cases of successful medical negligence claims relating to A&E departments.
The Case of Mrs H
Mrs H suffered an injury to her left foot. She visited her local A&E department where staff mistakenly diagnosed a fracture. They placed her left leg in a plaster cast.
Mrs H returned to hospital the following week. During this visit the cast was removed. She was advised that there was no fracture and that the cast had been too tight. The following day she began to suffer pain and swelling in her left calf. She was subsequently diagnosed as suffering from a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
As a result, Mrs H was treated with injections of heparin and had to wear compression stockings for a minimum of 2 years. She was no longer able to take the oral contraceptive pill as this would increase her risk of further DVT. There was also a 20% risk of a future DVT.
Mrs H contacted Medical Negligence Solicitors who advised her that she had a good claim against the Hospital. Mrs H made a claim and received a medical negligence compensation payout of £7,500
For more information see A&E Medical Negligence Claims.
The Case of Mr D
Mr D was 15 years old when he developed pain in his right testicle. He visited his local A&E department where, following examination, he was diagnosed with an infection. He was prescribed antibiotics and then sent home.
Mr D initially seemed to make a full recovery until, around 5 months since his visit to A&E, he developed severe pain in his left testicle. He returned to A&E where his left testicle was found to be abnormally firm and tender. On this occasion he was referred to a Urologist who, following examination, concluded that the testicular pain was as a result of infection. Mr D was in such pain that he was prescribed Morphine but was discharged home.
At home, Mr D’s pain deteriorated even further. Within 4 days, he returned to A&E. It was noted that his left testicle was swollen, tender and the skin was red. No problems were found in relation to the right testicle.
Mr D underwent an urgent ultrasound followed by surgical exploration which confirmed that he was suffering with testicular torsion (where a testicle rotates, twisting the cord that brings blood to the scrotum). The left testicle was found to be necrotic (dying) and an orchidectomy (surgical removal of the testicle) was performed.
Mr D instructed Medical Negligence Solicitors to bring a claim for compensation. The claim related to:
1) During the first attendance at A&E, the hospital’s misdiagnosis of infection. The correct diagnosis should have been testicular torsion. Had appropriate steps been taken (fixing both testicles to the insider of the scrotum), the later injury and surgery would have been avoided
2) During the second attendance at A&E, the hospital’s failure to arrange a testicular exploration. Had this been performed, the twisted testicle could have been untwisted and the testicle would have been saved.
Mr D’s medical negligence claim was successful. He recovered an NHS compensation payout of £12,000 in relation to the avoidable surgery, the cosmetic defect and the possibility of impaired fertility.
At Co-op Legal Services our client’s information always remains confidential. The above cases were not dealt with by our Medical Negligence Solicitors but were reported in the Personal Injuries Quantum Database of Lawtel.
As part of the Co-op Group our values of openness, honesty, social responsibility and caring for others are core to the service we provide.
We offer free legal advice relating to all types of clinical and medical negligence cases and most claims can be dealt with on a No Win No Fee basis.