Seven-Figure Settlement For Man Left Needing Round-The-Clock Care

Medical staff failed to treat patient correctly


The daughter of a Northumberland man left facing a lifetime of round-the-clock care after emergency medical staff failed to treat him correctly has spoken of her relief after a settlement ensured he would be looked after for the rest of his life.

Clinical negligence specialists at Irwin Mitchell secured an apology and an undisclosed seven-figure settlement for Joseph Neale, now 65, from Seghill in Northumberland, from the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust following mistakes made by medics in 2002.

The settlement will provide for his care for the rest of his life and will enable him to move out of his care home, Elpha Lodge in Northumberland, and into a house in Washington near his daughter, Helen Todd.

She turned to the clinical negligence team at leading law firm Irwin Mitchell following the incident.

"The simple fact is, had my father been treated correctly, he would not be in this situation now. The levels of care he now needs are huge – essentially 24 hours a day. It is incredibly distressing to see someone you love in that condition, but for it to have happened as a result of someone else’s errors makes it even more galling,” she added.

"We have lived every second of this case since the incident occurred seven years ago – it is such a relief to know that my father can now be given the care and long-term support that he needs."

Angela Kirtley, solicitor and clinical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell, said: "Mr Neale and his family are extremely pleased that this claim has finally settled and compensation received will certainly contribute to Joseph’s quality of life in the future.

"The assistance of the Trust and their Solicitors has helped in dealing with Mr Neale’s claim as there was an early admission of liability and we have been able to work closely with the Trust’s Solicitors to ensure that Mr Neale has obtained fair and deserved compensation.”

In 2002, Mr Neale was twice given an emergency referral by his GP to North Tyneside Hospital for a suspected serious brain injury. Mr Neale had been vomiting, had a throbbing headache over his right eye and was suffering from drowsiness.

Following the first referral, to the Accident and Emergency unit, he was discharged without treatment, and the second time, to the Medical Admission Unit, was simply placed on a general ward and not given the emergency treatment he needed.

Only when his condition deteriorated overnight did medical staff become concerned and sent him for a scan that revealed a subdural haematoma – bleeding on the brain and Mr. Neale had to be rushed to Newcastle General Hospital for emergency treatment.

Mr Neale defied the odds to survive, but was left with a serious brain injury and now requires 24 hour care.