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£5,000.00 compensation secured for delay in diagnosing appendicitis

It’s a scenario that is all too easy to imagine and something that any one of us may face at any time of our life.

That innocuous, essentially pointless part of the body called an “appendix”.

Appendix means “an attachment, and is separate material that is added to the end of a book, magazine or an article”. In other words, almost, an afterthought something ancillary to the main event, as it were.

So it is with the appendix in your body. Good old Google defines it as “a tube-shaped sac attached to and opening into the lower end of the large intestine in humans and some other mammals”.

Not that it does anything at all……except become extremely painfully inflamed from time to time in many unlucky individuals.

In this case, our client, a 23 year old lady, attended A & E in the early hours of 11th December 2009, complaining of excruciating abdominal pain. She had been to her GP’s surgery the previous day, before the pain had peaked.

In the hospital, the initial examining clinician marked the box denoting “severe pain”.

Possible diagnoses were made of period pain, constipation, and gastroenteritis.

However, these alternatives were recorded despite the lady exhibiting a raised white blood cell count, a classic indicator of infection. In fact she was merely prescribed paracetamol and ibuprofen and discharged home, without any surgeon having been consulted.

Almost 24 hours later, having endured what must have been a simply dreadful day, she re-attended Hospital and was by then showing a fever in addition to the unimaginable abdominal pain. This time the correct diagnosis of appendicitis was made and surgery ensued.

However, the delayed diagnosis had caused complications since the surgeon found the appendix to be grossly swollen, perforated, and adherent to the surrounding tissue. There were signs of peritonitis and the surgery was more complex than it ought to have been.

She was warned of the risk of developing sepsis (bacterial infection) and indeed had to be re-admitted a little less than a week later for further treatment when that risk materialised.

In fact our client was not entirely free from discomfort for more than 6 months.

What did Lloyd Green, Solicitors do?

We were asked to help in January 2011 and sought all the relevant medical notes from various hospitals and local surgery to enable us to investigate the lady’s complaint.

After eventually obtaining these and lengthy discussions with the client, a formal detailed letter of claim was presented to the Trust in question and to their solicitors.

Unfortunately, despite being pressed to do so, liability for the accident was denied and continued to be so for a long period of time.

The compensation process

It was the Trust’s position that appendicitis is notoriously difficult to diagnosis and that the response of the Hospital clinicians upon the lady’s first visit there was reasonable.

Following continued correspondence and our stressing the absurdity of failing to consider an inflamed appendix in light of their own clinical findings, notably the raised white cell count, severe abdominal pain and vomiting, and the inconsistency between these symptoms and the alternative diagnoses which the Hospital did however consider, the Trust eventually in January 2013, shortly before Court proceedings were to be commenced – the normal 3 year period for doing so had been extended slightly by agreement – admitted liability and made an offer to settle of £5,000.00, which was accepted by our client.

Solicitor who handled the case

Nick is a partner and experienced and empathetic injury lawyer.

Nick is a partner and experienced and empathetic injury lawyer.

The client was represented by Nicholas Chatters, solicitor in charge of Lloyd Green’s personal injury and clinical negligence team

More Information

If you would like information or advice in relation to a similar (or, for that matter, completely different) accident that you have had, please do not hesitate to telephone or email us via the contact form. This page on our site about NHS claims may also be of use.

Our solicitors will be more than happy to discuss your medical situation (or accident) with you without any obligation whatsoever.