The specialist medical negligence team at Irwin Mitchell’s London office has assisted a client to obtain compensation after serious delays in the diagnosis of spinal tuberculosis.
Mr X developed pain in his back in March 2008 at the age of 28. He visited his GP who prescribed him painkillers. Over the following few months his condition didn’t improve and he was prescribed stronger painkillers and referred for physiotherapy.
In June 2008 he noticed a lump forming on his sternum (chest). He was referred to the Orthopaedic department of his local hospital in London in August 2008 for further investigation.
He was told that the lump on his chest was a benign seroma (pocket of fluid) and did not need treatment. However, his condition continued to deteriorate, he suffered from severe back pain and the lump on his chest burst and began weeping.
Mr X remained under the care of the Orthopaedic department and underwent an MRI scan in February 2009. He was then told that he may have bone tuberculosis. Further tests were carried out and tuberculosis in his sternum was diagnosed but it was not recognised that it was also in his spine and therefore he was not started on treatment.
The spinal tuberculosis was not diagnosed until May 2009 when he took a trip to see family in India. Whilst there he became very unwell and was hospitalised. His condition was correctly diagnosed in a number of days and he was started on appropriate treatment.
Mr X returned to the UK in June 2009 and told his doctors in London of his diagnosis with spinal tuberculosis. He spent a week in hospital undergoing drainage of spinal abscesses before being discharged home on long term medication.
The Trust admitted that there was an unreasonable delay in diagnosing and treating Mr X.
Mr X’s case was settled out of Court for a five figure sum which reflected the pain and suffering he had endured and the damage to his spine, but also took into account that fortunately his future prognosis was good.
The London Trust involved sent Mr X a letter of apology in relation to the management of his care.
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