M developed a significant disability called hydrocephalous (commonly known as “water on the brain”) in his late 20’s which was treated by way of a shunt, allowing the movement of fluid from his brain.  Despite various medical problems arising from this, he was able to work normally until he decided to take an early retirement following his employer’s relocation.

In his mid-50s, M had to undergo a revision of an artificial hip joint and during the course of his rehabilitation, he developed various problems including a prolapsed bowel.  Following surgery for this, he was noted to be unusually drowsy and so was investigated by way of CT imaging which later indicated that M had sustained a “hypoxic brain injury” during the procedure.  This sadly left him with multiple neurological dysfunction and his independence was significantly compromised which meant he had to spend many years in a care home in an unstimulating environment and without appropriate rehabilitation. He also had to sell his home to fund care home fees whilst he “lost” many years of independence and quality of life.

Clinical negligence lawyers at Anthony Collins Solicitors were instructed to pursue a clinical negligence claim against the Hospital Trust that carried out the surgery.  The case was complex in that it was initially impossible to determine how the hypoxic brain injury had developed.  A number of medical experts were asked to piece the jigsaw together and a multi-disciplinary approach to the liability issues was required.

The Hospital Trust initially denied the claim but later admitted breach of duty, however, they maintained denial of causation.

M was in urgent need of rehabilitation and an interim payment to fund this, but due to the complexity this was likely to take years to achieve. However, with a critical need for accommodation, care and rehabilitation, the team made an urgent application to the Court for an interim payment and also requested that the Court enter Judgment against the Defendant notwithstanding their denial of the claim, on the basis that it did not have a logical rationale. The application was ultimately successful and the Court awarded Judgment on liability with damages to be assessed in our favour.

Finally, the Judge approved a settlement valued in excess of £2million. The team acknowledge the rewards and challenges that the case has brought them, supporting the individual and his family throughout. Care provision and medical diagnoses were not easy to obtain and yet their specialist know-how meant that they were able to help a vulnerable individual return to a semblance of normality. Notably, NHS costs would have been significantly reduced if there had been open and justified admissions made at an earlier stage.

For more information

If you'd like to talk to someone about a clinical negligence case, please contact Tony Hall on tony.hall@anthonycollins.com or 0121 212 7476.

Contract management pitfalls – payment
Contract management pitfalls – payment

In the second part of our series on contract management pitfalls, we look at the risks and opportunities presented by payment mechanisms in construction contracts.