Leading personal injury and medical negligence solicitors
Tuberculosis (TB) negligence claims
Boyes Turner’s clinical negligence team have recovered substantial compensation and settlements for clients with permanent disability caused by late diagnosed or untreated TB. Our friendly, experienced lawyers understand the impact of this life-threatening disease on both the sufferer and their family. We are experienced in helping clients who have suffered devastating injury from negligent TB treatment rebuild their lives through their entitlement to compensation.
Where signs and symptoms of tuberculosis were ignored or treatment negligently delayed, we can help our clients claim the compensation they need to ease their financial hardship and meet the costs of their disability. Money cannot buy a return to full health, but our clients welcome the help that compensation can provide in meeting the costs of adapted accommodation, private medical treatment and therapies, and specialist equipment, care and household assistance, which in turn help restore mobility and independence. Following severe disability from TB, many clients are no longer able to work. We can recover their loss of earnings as part of their claim, bringing financial security and peace of mind.
What is tuberculosis (TB)?
Tuberculosis or TB is a serious and contagious, bacterial infection. TB usually affects the lungs but can also infect other parts of the body, including the brain, spine, abdomen, bones and nervous system.
The infection is spread by coughing, sneezing or spitting. It can be caught by someone else inhaling drops of the infected fluid from the air. Initially, the newly infected person’s immune system may be able to deal with the disease, without causing symptoms or infecting others. This is known as latent TB. It is thought that latent TB affects around a quarter of the world’s population.
After someone is infected, they have a 5-15% lifetime risk of becoming ill with TB. People with weakened immune systems have a greater risk of developing active TB. Anyone can get TB but the risk is increased for people who:
- drink alcohol;
- have HIV;
- have diabetes;
- live in poverty with malnutrition, poor housing and sanitation.
What happens if tuberculosis is untreated?
Tuberculosis is a serious infection which requires timely treatment with antibiotics to avoid permanent injury and severe disability. Delays in treating pulmonary tuberculosis can result in incurable lung damage, restricting the affected person’s ability to breathe and causing a lifetime of coughing fits, breathlessness and chest infections. Pulmonary tuberculosis is associated with a condition caused aspergillosis, a life-threatening and debilitating condition which may require removal of the affected person’s lung.
Delayed or untreated tuberculosis infection can spread to the brain, causing confusion, loss of consciousness, coma, or permanent damage from tuberculosis meningitis. If left untreated, both pulmonary and extrapulmonary tuberculosis can cause death.
What is tuberculosis medical negligence?
Tuberculosis negligence claims usually arise from delays in diagnosis and treatment of TB, resulting in permanent injury to the affected person. TB negligence claims against GPs may also arise from failure to refer the patient for specialist review or appropriate tests and investigations.
Symptoms of tuberculosis may initially be mild, increasing in severity between onset and eventual diagnosis. Individual symptoms may be mistaken for other conditions, such as a chest infection or viral infection, leading to further delay.
We have helped clients with tuberculosis injury and disability after:
- GP or hospital failure or delay in recognising the signs and symptoms of TB;
- GP or hospital failure or delay in ordering the correct tests and investigations for TB;
- delayed diagnosis of TB;
- GP failure or delay in referral of the patient to hospital or to a specialist to review;
- misdiagnosis of TB signs and symptoms as another condition;
- delay or failing to treat the patient with appropriate antibiotics or corticosteroids;
- failing to test and treat the infected person’s close family members for latent TB;
- failure to screen for TB infection (e.g. on immigration).
What tuberculosis negligence injuries lead to a compensation claim?
Our specialist medical negligence lawyers have helped clients recover compensation after TB negligence led to:
- brain damage from TB meningitis;
- hearing loss;
- lung damage and respiratory disability;
- Aspergillosis/loss of lung;
- coughing fits;
- reduced immunity to chest and other infections;
- weakness and reduced stamina;
- avoidable injury to children/family members.
What compensation can I claim for disability caused by tuberculosis negligence?
We have helped clients who have been permanently disabled as a result of late diagnosed or untreated TB recover compensation for:
- their pain, suffering and physical and psychological injury;
- loss of earnings;
- care and domestic assistance;
- adapted accommodation;
- specialist equipment;
- costs of private surgery and medical treatment;
- psychological counselling;
- out of pocket expenses arising from their avoidable injury.
What are the symptoms and signs of tuberculosis?
The symptoms of TB will depend on whether the infection affects the lungs (pulmonary TB) or another part of the body (extrapulmonary TB).
According to the NHS, general symptoms of TB include:
- weight loss and lack of appetite;
- night sweats;
- a high temperature (fever);
- extreme tiredness or fatigue.
In addition to the general symptoms and signs, people with pulmonary TB may suffer from:
- a cough which:
- lasts more than 3 weeks;
- brings up (sometimes blood-stained) phlegm;
- gradually worsening breathlessness.
Extrapulmonary TB is less common than pulmonary TB. Extrapulmonary TB infection affects areas of the body outside of the lungs, such as:
- lymph nodes;
- digestive system;
- reproductive system;
- nervous system.
Symptoms and signs of extrapulmonary TB may include:
- persistently swollen glands;
- abdominal pain;
- pain or loss of movement in a joint;
- persistent headache;
- seizures (fits).
What causes tuberculosis?
TB is a contagious bacterial infection spread through prolonged exposure to someone else with the illness. The most contagious type of TB is pulmonary tuberculosis which affects the lungs. Infection is passed between people when microscopic droplets from infected people are released into the air and inhaled by another.
Tuberculosis is not easy to catch, in most healthy people the body’s immune system kills the bacteria and there are no symptoms. In some the immune system is unable to kill the bacteria but manages to prevent it spreading in the body. This is called latent tuberculosis. If a person has latent TB they are not infectious to others and they will not have any symptoms. They can exhibit TB symptoms at a later stage however if their immune system becomes weakened.
If the immune system does fail to kill or contain the infection tuberculosis can spread within the lungs or other parts of the body and the carrier will develop symptoms.
How common is tuberculosis or TB?
Tuberculosis (TB) is still the world’s deadliest infectious killer. Worldwide, nearly 4,500 people die each day (that’s 1.5million each year) from this preventable and curable disease. England has one of the highest rates of tuberculosis in Western Europe.
Is there a cure for tuberculosis?
If TB is detected before permanent damage has been done, for most people it is treatable with a six-month course of antibiotics. Early recognition and treatment is the key to avoiding long term disability and spread of the disease.
TB immunisations (known as BCG) are available on the NHS for babies, children and young adults who are at risk of contracting the disease.
How is tuberculosis diagnosed and treated?
The early symptoms of active TB may be mild, but early recognition and treatment are important. Any delays in diagnosis and treatment increase the risk of permanent injury and spread of the disease to others.
Pulmonary TB is often diagnosed after a chest x-ray and a phlegm sample. If pulmonary TB is diagnosed early, it can usually be cured with a 6-month-long course of antibiotics. During treatment the infected person does not need to be isolated from their family, but they may need to take certain precautions to avoid spreading the infection.
Extrapulmonary TB may be diagnosed after more extensive tests including:
It is usually treated with a combination of antibiotics and corticosteroids.
- CT scan;
- MRI scan;
- ultrasound scans;
- blood tests;
The service was personal, professional and considered. I was treated so kindly and in the end I knew that not only had I found the right organisation but also the right person.
Boyes Turner client