specialists at Irwin Mitchell have helped a young woman to claim compensation from NHS Direct, her GP and a hospital after all three failed to diagnose her with appendicitis.
The young woman was aged 14 at the time she developed appendicitis. She complained to her parents of abdominal pain, cramping, sickness and diarrhoea, and her mother contacted NHS Direct. They suggested making sure she stayed hydrated.
Her condition didn’t improve so her mother called the following day and was reassured it was probably a stomach bug. Following the second phone call, her symptoms worsened. She could not stand, was bent double in pain and continued to suffer vomiting and diarrhoea.
Her parents called their GP surgery several times and a GP came to visit two days later. The GP suggested she may have gastroenteritis and a stool sample taken. That evening, there was blood in her stools so her parents made a call to NHS Direct for the third time. They were advised to take their daughter to the A&E department of a hospital. The hospital suggested that she had gastroenteritis and discharged her home.
Back home, the symptoms continued. The pain was so severe that two days later another GP was called to visit. This time the GP admitted her to hospital. On admission, there was still a further delay before a diagnosis of perforated appendicitis was finally made and urgent surgery to remove the appendix was performed.
From the initial call to NHS Direct, to the time she was correctly diagnosed on the second visit to hospital, there was a 12 day delay in diagnosis and treatment. Because of the severity of the appendicitis by the time she had the emergency surgery; she also suffered sepsis and had to have a stoma fitted for nine months.
During her illness and recovery, she missed some school and has also had to discontinue gymnastics, which she has enjoyed and done well in prior to her illness. She has also been left with considerable scarring from the surgery and may experience fertility issues in the future.
Sarah Coles, in the Medical Negligence team in Leeds, represented the young woman and made a claim against NHS Direct, the GP and the hospital. She received £100,000 in compensation.
If you or a loved one has suffered as a result of medical misdiagnosis, we may be able to help you claim compensation. See our Medical Negligence Guide for more information.
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