The resolution of a claim for negligence at mediation rather than facing the trauma of going to trial helped our client explain his distress and have the confidence that his pain, suffering and the impact on his life were properly acknowledged.
In 2011, our client was diagnosed with a benign tumour on his pituitary gland. In 2018, the tumour had grown, touching the optic nerve. A decision was made to operate to remove the tumour in September 2018 at the defendant hospital. The surgery was successful, and our client’s eyesight was maintained.
However, following the surgery, he developed urinary incontinence which he drew to the attention of a nurse. He was advised that it was due to the pituitary gland being stretched during surgery and it would return to normal in a few days. He was discharged with no advice, no referral or no further investigation of the incontinence.
A few days after our client was discharged, he attended A&E with swelling and tenderness in his legs and abdomen. He was advised he had low kidney function. He was not treated and was sent home. Our client attended a post-surgery follow up appointment and he again mentioned his symptoms. He was referred to urology.
In October 2018 our client’s condition deteriorated. He had gained over a stone in weight due to fluid retention and subsequently he collapsed. Admitted to hospital by ambulance, he was diagnosed with acute kidney injury (AKI) and was advised he was going into kidney failure. His prostate had also swollen up and was blocking the urethra. He was catheterised, and a large amount fluid was drained. It was clear that the failure to listen to our client and treat him allowed the fluid retention to reach dangerous levels.
Andrea Rusbridge commented:
“My client explained how terrifying it was and how abandoned he had felt when his symptoms were ignored and led to his collapse. The lack of treatment in this case led to my client losing all trust in the medical profession and affected treatment for his ongoing condition.”
In March 2019, our client underwent a transurethral resection of the prostate surgery (TURPS). His symptoms improved a little but, were not resolved. By this time, Shoosmiths had been instructed by the client and had obtained evidence from an expert urologist that the ongoing incontinence our client suffered would have occurred in any event and was not caused by the delayed treatment.
However, while agreeing with our expert’s report, the defendant trust admitted that our client should have been treated for the incontinence before he was discharged from hospital. They also admitted that on any of the occasions when he subsequently attended hospital, if he had been treated appropriately, he would have avoided the fluid retention and acute kidney injury. We also obtained psychiatric evidence which demonstrated that our client suffered from a psychiatric injury because of the delayed treatment. Since that negligent delay, our client had to rely on his wife for assistance in general aspects of his day-to-day life.
Andrea Rusbridge successfully negotiated a settlement following a mediation meeting. Mediation is an opportunity for the client’s voice to be heard by expressing how the negligence physically and psychologically affected them. It is also an opportunity for clients to be involved in the negotiations.
“Resolution of the claim at mediation has helped our client explain his distress and to feel that was acknowledged which the family has found to be found beneficial. He received apology from a member of the trust’s patient safety and learning (PALS) team and had the opportunity to discuss how they intend to improve their services to prevent this from happening again. Such a discussion would not arise if a case proceeded to trial.”
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022