Lawyers Secure Seven-Figure Package To Fund Lifelong Care Needs
A young woman left with brain damage and physical disabilities after doctors failed to diagnose an ear infection when she was 14 has revealed she is looking to the future after lawyers secured a seven-figure settlement to fund her care needs.
Rebecca Prosser, who is now 25, from Mountain Ash in the Cynon Valley, was referred to Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil in February 2006 after enduring weeks of pain and a discharge coming from her left ear, but doctors failed to diagnose the issue.
Her condition continued to worsen until finally, in mid-March, she was admitted to the hospital with nausea, vomiting and swelling around the ear. A middle ear infection was diagnosed and she was transferred to University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Despite surgery related to the infection and a further procedure on an abscess, she was left with brain damage and both physical and cognitive difficulties.
Following the issues, Rebecca and her family instructed Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team to investigate the treatment she received and the lawyers launched legal action against Cwm Taf Health Board arguing that the complications could have been avoided had the infection been identified earlier.
Cwm Taf Health Board accepted partial liability for Rebecca’s injury and now, the experts have secured a settlement of more than £4 million which will ensure that Rebecca is able to access the care and support she will need across the rest of her life.
Expert Opinion“This is a truly devastating case in which a teenager has suffered life-changing injuries after doctors failed to correctly diagnose her condition at the earliest opportunity.
“Had the ear infection in this case been identified during her initial referral to hospital – around a month before it actually was – the outcome for our client could have been very different.
“While nothing can change the challenges and difficulties that Rebecca and her family have been through across the past ten years, we hope that this settlement will provide them with some peace of mind regarding her future and reassurance that she will always be able to access the support she requires.
“It is also vital that lessons are learned from her case to ensure that the problems she experienced are simply never repeated.” Sara Burns - Partner
As a result of the problems, Rebecca has impaired mobility, dizziness, headaches and issues with her memory and concentration. This means she is dependent on her family for support in many basic day-to-day tasks, although she is focused on gaining as much independence as possible going forward.
Rebecca said: “Because of the pain I was in, it is very hard to remember too much about what happened when I went to hospital. The injuries have had a huge impact on my life, with my mobility issues meaning it can be very difficult to do many things that people take for granted like make friends and have an active social life.
“My dream when I was younger was to become a teacher but that’s something I have not been able to do. My aim is to one day go to college.
“It has been difficult and hugely frustrating to try and come to terms with what has happened to me, but receiving this settlement is definitely a chance to now look forward a bit more optimistically to the future. My only hope now is that no one else faces the problems that I have.”
Read more about the work of Irwin Mitchell's Medical Negligence Team here.