Clinicians At Eastbourne General District Hospital Took Three Days To Diagnose And Treat Woman After She Suffered A Seizure At Home
A mum-of-four who was left severely brain damaged after clinicians took three days to diagnose life-threatening encephalitis has received a seven-figure settlement to fund a lifetime of care and rehabilitation.
The 50-year-old woman, who can only be identified as CBR, suffered severe neurological damage and now requires full-time care after the substantial delay in diagnosing Herpes Simplex Encephalitis - a viral infection of the human central nervous system - following a seizure at her home.
Her husband, known as PEB, instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate her care under East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust and help his stricken wife access specialist care and rehabilitation.
CBR’s legal team found that had she had treatment within just 16 hours of admission, while she may not have fully recovered, she would not have suffered such a significant brain injury.
Irwin Mitchell helped the family to secure a grant to have their home adapted with a suitable wet room as well as an interim to fund a case manager to support her rehabilitation, care and any equipment she needs to support her life at home.
After an approval hearing today (April 28) in the High Court, CBR will receive a lump sum of £1.85m and a six figure annual payment of £113,000 to cover the cost of her on-going care until she reaches 70 years old. She will then receive £151,000 per annum for the rest of her life.
CBR’s husband said: “Our lives as a family changed beyond recognition 12 years ago and we would give anything to turn back the clock.
“CBR was a fit and active, outdoorsy hands-on mum with a lust for life. The mistakes which robbed her of prompt and effective treatment have also robbed her of much of those passions and she has had to learn to continue life as a different person.
“While nothing can change what happened to CBR, I hope that this settlement will enable our family to now look forward and make plans for the future, knowing that CBR will be able to access the services that she needs to live as full a life as possible.”
Before her illness, CBR was a very active person who enjoyed walking her dog, going for hikes in the countryside and gardening. But in February 2005 she began feeling run down and started to behave out of character and grew argumentative, finding fault with things which would not have normally concerned her.
On February 10 she was sick throughout the day and that evening lost consciousness before suffering a seizure. Her husband called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital where sadly, despite her rising temperature, disorientation and unusual behaviour no action was taken.
Three days after admission, and following tests, doctors confirmed that CBR had Viral Encephalitis and started her on treatment just under four hours later.
While CBR has no physical limitations, she suffers with constant confusion and behavioural issues. She must be supervised and supported with basic activities like eating, washing and dressing and if left alone can be a danger to herself. She also has a reduced life expectancy.
Expert Opinion“The last 12 years have been incredibly difficult for CBR and her family. And while nothing can change what has happened to her, the significant settlement agreed by the courts today will provide her with access to suitable accommodation, a full care package and continued rehabilitation for the rest of her life.
“It is important that the NHS Trust continues to learn from the mistakes made and improve its practices to ensure that no other family will have to endure what CBR and her family have been through.” Richard Kayser - Senior Associate Solicitor
Read more about the work of Irwin Mitchell's Medical Negligence Team here