Head Injury UK client awarded £475,000 for delay in treating meningitis resulting in blindness

Head Injury UK lawyer Clare Langford helped a client claim clinical negligence against his GP resulting in a compensation award of £475,000.

In December 2004 Mr S was suffering flu like symptoms which were progressively getting worse. On the evening of the 5 December he felt he needed urgent medical attention. His wife assisted him into the car and then drove him to the out of hours GP surgery. Our client was so weak by this stage that he had to be assisted into the surgery by his wife. The medical records confirm that our client was seen by the GP at 8.35pm. His symptoms were a front bilateral headache and right ear ache. He had a throbbing ear and was sweaty. His temperature was raised at 40 degrees and his blood pressure was 100/70. It was noted that his left ear drum was red and he was prescribed antibiotics and advised to see his own GP the following day. The consultation was completed in 7 minutes. Our client collected the medication prescribed and proceeded to take the same.

The following morning at 6.22am our client's wife realised our client was not responding and immediately called the ambulance service. Our client was admitted to Hospital and was diagnosed as having Pneumococcal Meningitis.   He was started on IV antibiotics and remained in hospital for the next 4 months.  Unfortunately as a consequence of the meningitis, the client is completely blind in both eyes with the pupils being un-reactive to light and partially deaf. He suffers from spastic paraparesis with pathological brisk reflexes in the lower limbs, and problems with bowel and bladder control.

A claim was brought against the GP for failing to undertake an adequate examination of the client which led to an incorrect diagnosis of ear infection.  Medical evidence was sought from an independent GP that based on the symptoms the client presented with, the examination should have included checking for photo phobia, neck stiffness and altered mental state.  If these tests had been positive, an immediate referral should have been made to the nearest hospital.  An independent Neurologist, Consultant in Infectious Disease and Microbiologist were instructed to comment on the symptoms the client would have presented with at the time of the Consultation and the probable prognosis had a referral to hospital been made that evening. Based upon medical opinion, we argued had the diagnosis of meningitis been made on the evening of 5 December 2004 it is likely that our client not have suffered the permanent Neurological complications including blindness and paraplegia.

The claim was vigorously defended by the GP's representatives.  The defendant solicitor obtained their own medical opinions that no reasonable GP would have made a referral to hospital based on the symptoms presented and furthermore, even if a referral had been made, such is the aggressive nature of meningitis and the speed at which it developed, the neurological complications would have occurred in any event.

The matter was approaching trial when after extensive negotiations the claim settled for £475,000.  The compensation has enabled the client to buy a new house and have financial security.

Head Injury UK:Brain Injury Experts

If you have been affected by a similar issue please contact Clare Langford to discuss in confidence how she can also help you.

What our clients say

We know that we have been extremely fortunate to have had such a consummate PI lawyer in Andy acting on our behalf but we have also been blessed by having had his support, trust, friendship and loyalty throughout. We cannot ever thank him enough.

The compensation Nicola has received has helped her move from a tiny council flat into a massive bungalow which has been specifically adapted. It has enabled her to have a better life.

If it was not for the help of my solicitor I don't know where I would have been today. He provided a great deal of emotional support and secured compensation at various stages from the insurance company to fund my treatment and allow me to live. He was there from start to finish.

Higgs & Sons acted for us for 5 years until our daughters claim for personal injuries was finally settled. Ian remains a trustee of our daughters trust fund and we now look upon him as a friend.