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Out Of Court Settlement Following Blood Poisoning Death Of Staffs Mum Of Two

GP Failed To Diagnose Septicaemia


The family of a Staffordshire mother of two who died from blood poisoning after an out of hours locum GP allegedly failed to correctly spot the fatal symptoms of septicaemia, has today (Monday 1st March) received an out of court settlement  for an undisclosed sum.

However a medical negligence expert from Irwin Mitchell solicitors is concerned that a failure to accept that mistakes were made means that lessons may not have been learned from this tragedy.

36 year old Josephine Denise Brindley, from Cannock, died from septic shock on 26th June 2005. The day prior to her death, it is alleged that locum GP, Dr Karuna Desai failed to properly diagnose Mrs Brindley’s condition when, on 25th June 2005, she attended an out-of-hours GP clinic, based at Cannock Hospital which was operated by South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust
Mrs Brindley leaves behind husband Paul (39) and two young children, Jack (now aged 10) and Holly (now aged 7).

The Trust has refused to accept liability for Mrs Brindley’s death but despite this, has now agreed to pay an undisclosed out of court settlement. As part of the settlement has been awarded to Mrs Brindley’s two children and held in trust, the settlement needed to be approved today (Monday 1st March) by the High Court in Birmingham.

Mrs Brindley’s health problems began when, on 22nd June 2006, she injured her right shoulder at work. While trying to pull a box file off a cabinet - it fell towards her and, as she tried to catch it, she felt a severe pain in her right shoulder.
Later that day Josephine began to feel very unwell and over the course of the next two days her condition deteriorated. On 25th October, she attended an out of hours GP clinic held at Cannock Hospital.

Locum GP Dr Karuna Desai saw Mrs Brindley and was told about her shoulder, her extreme nausea and some pain killers she was taking - which did not seem to be working.  It is alleged that the doctor did not properly assess Josephine’s condition despite showing the signs and symptoms of infection.  Dr Desai instead diagnosed that Mrs Brindley was reacting to her painkillers and prescribed alternatives.

The following day Mrs Brindley continued to feel faint and nauseous and, as her condition continued to deteriorate, her husband took her to Mid-Staffordshire General Hospital. Sadly despite the best efforts of medical staff she died from septic shock. 

Timothy Deeming, a medical negligence expert with Irwin Mitchell Solicitors, represented the family. He explained: “We believe that Dr Desai’s failure to correctly assess Mrs Brindley’s condition, despite the signs that were likely to have been present, amounted to a basic failure of patient care.”

Tim continued “We believe an adequate examination should have led to urgent admission to hospital, a prompt diagnosis of infection and appropriate antibiotic treatment would, it is agreed, have led to Mrs Brindley’s life being saved.”

“The Brindley family has understandably been devastated by Jo’s unexpected and untimely death. She lived for her family and they were equally devoted to her.

“Josephine’s two young children were aged just 6 and 2 when this tragic incident occurred. Her husband, Paul, has had to cope with both the loss of his wife and trying to bring up a young family alone. While they continue to come to terms with the loss of their wife and mother, we very much hope that lessons will be learned from this tragic death to ensure that patient safety is realised.”

Widower, Paul Brindley commented: “The last four and a half years have been extremely difficult and I would like to thank everyone who has helped the family through such a tragic time.

“We have lost a mother, sister, daughter and wife who was totally dedicated to her family. Jo was the life and soul of family social events and her smile would always light up a room when she entered.

 “Jo will never be forgotten and will always be in our minds. Today’s settlement will never replace her and I believe the PCT still has many questions to answer.”