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Case Study

A&E claim: £90,000 for delayed appendicitis diagnosis causing infertility

We recovered £90,000 for Laura in an accident and emergency negligence claim. Laura's ovaries and fallopian tubes were damaged because of a failure to diagnose a burst appendix. As a result Laura was left infertile.

While at work, Laura began to feel sick with stomach and lower abdominal pains. She went home but she developed a temperature, began to vomit and have diarrhea.

She saw her GP the following day and attended the A&E department of her local hospital with severe abdominal pain. She saw a senior house officer (SHO) and Laura asked if was possible that she had appendicitis.

The SHO agreed that this was one possibility and called the senior registrar (SR) who did not see her for some considerable time. The SR then carried out a brief examination and indicated that Laura had an infection of her fallopian tubes. He prescribed antibiotics and then discharged Laura.

Laura returned to the hospital early the following morning having been continuously vomiting, suffering from a high temperature and having increased abdominal pains. She was seen by a number of junior doctors, but appendicitis was not diagnosed until she was seen by the consultant surgeon in the late afternoon. He immediately took Laura to theatre where a perforated appendix was discovered and removed.

It took a long time for Laura to recover and when she was being discharged the consultant indicated that the burst appendix may have affected her fertility.

Laura continued to have episodes of infections and abdominal pain, which required hospital admissions.

Laura tried to conceive without success. An exploratory operation in January 2001 confirmed that both ovaries and fallopian tubes were blocked and needed removal. As a result, Laura is now infertile without the possibility of IVF treatment as her ovaries have been removed.

Laura instructed Paul McNeil to investigate an accident and emergency negligence claim.

Our medical experts confirmed that there had been a delay in diagnosis of appendicitis. Earlier treatment would have avoided significant infection and on balance of probabilities it is likely that Laura would not have become infertile.

Proceedings were issued but the defendants initially admitted breach of duty, but not causation and offered a settlement in the sum of £10,000. We felt that this offer was too low.

Expert evidence was exchanged and the matter was fixed for trial.

After negotiations the defendants offered £90,000 damages. Laura was happy to accept this sum and the other side also paid all her legal costs.

Contact us

For further information about delayed diagnosis claims and clinical negligence claims, please call Paul McNeil on 0330 460 6804 or email


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