A 57 year old man suffered an infected haematoma following a routine angiogram in July 2002. Despite excruciating pain in his right groin he was discharged from the hospital the following day. His symptoms of pain and swelling worsened and he was examined by an emergency GP who failed to make the diagnosis and simply prescribed antibiotics without referral back to hospital. This caused a seven day delay in readmission to hospital under the care of cardiologists.
He required early referral to vascular surgeons and underwent major vascular surgery to remove the right iliac and femoral arteries to preserve his right leg. He was hospitalised for 3 months and suffered on-going problems of foot drop, lack of feeling in the right foot, a limp and lymphatic drainage problems. This has considerably impacted on his quality of life and ability to work.
The medical negligence claim was a complex one in terms of the original cause of the infected haematoma but then subsequently trying to unravel the facts surrounding the GP negligence and what would have been a differential outcome had a referral been made when it should have been made.
The case was contested and the defendants claimed that the damage to the femoral artery was inevitable.
Following exchange of factual witness statements discrepancy in the evidence on each side came to light. Valuing the medical claim proved difficult especially in respect of loss of earnings which were difficult to establish.
Expert evidence was exchanged and the defendant invited the claimant to discontinue to the case which was refused. The matter progressed towards the trial and further offers were made both ways.
Following meetings between the experts the case remained substantially disputed.
The case went to roundtable mediation and ultimately settlement was agreed shortly before trial in the sum of £85,000 in compensation plus full payment of the claimant's costs by the negligent defendant.