SH was first referred to the hospital in May 2010 by her GP, where she was found to have a large mass on the right of her abdomen. She was admitted to the hospital and underwent a colonoscopy to investigate whether the mass was cancerous. The treating doctors negligently concluded that the colonoscopy results indicated a diagnosis of Crohn's disease and she was discharged later the following week, with a prescription of steroids to reduce the size of the mass.
In September 2010 SH returned to the hospital to query the diagnosis, complaining that the mass grew when she reduced her steroid dosage. She was also in significant abdomen pain. Her concerns that she was not suffering the usual symptoms of Crohn's – such as weight loss and diarrhoea - were disregarded by the treating doctor.
In late 2010 she was told that she needed an operation to remove the mass from her abdomen and was taken off steroid treatment. By this stage, her abdomen pain was so severe that painkillers had no effect. The only way to relieve the pain was to take long, hot showers or use a hot water bottle.
The operation was due in mid-December 2010 but was cancelled due to poor weather. She was admitted in mid-January 2011 following a further deterioration in her symptoms. Tests were performed which found that she was in renal failure as the abdominal mass was pushing on her right kidney. SH was later told that the CT scan in June 2010 also showed this, but no action had been taken.
A further CT scan and biopsy was performed and SH was diagnosed with lymphoma. SH underwent six courses of chemotherapy.
Following the second course of chemotherapy, SH's condition deteriorated. She went back to the hospital in March 2011 in extreme pain and suffering instances of vomiting faecal matter. Despite her very serious deterioration, no meaningful treatment was offered. She subsequently required an emergency operation four days later, during which it was discovered that she had a volvulus (twisting of the gut). She was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit and given a temporary stoma. She remained in hospital for nearly a month.
SH's condition began to improve following discharge and she recommenced her chemotherapy treatment. Unfortunately, d in December 2011, her right kidney function was just 3 per cent because it had been blocked by the lymphoma. The kidney was subsequently removed in March 2013, together with the reversal of her stoma.
Thankfully, SH's lymphoma is in remission. However, she has developed a large and unsightly hernia as a result of the various procedures and suffers from ongoing abdominal cramping which affects her day-to-day life. Her fertility is also affected as the mass put pressure on her ovaries.
SH instructed Jonathan Zimmern to investigate her case. He instructed a Haematologist, a Radiologist, a Colorectal Surgeon, a Gastroenterologist and an Urologist, all of whom were critical of the treatment SH received. The Trust continued to deny liability throughout proceedings but following exchange of both sides' expert evidence, a settlement was agreed for £95,000.
On completion of the case, SH said:
"I was very impressed with how Jonathan handled the claim process from start to finish. He was very supportive and understanding throughout and clearly grasped the complexities of my case whilst minimising the trauma of reliving what was a very difficult time for me.
"Jonathan clearly explained the procedure at every stage and kept me up to date with all developments and time frames. He and his team were thorough, professional and instrumental in achieving the best outcome possible for me, avoiding a protracted and difficult court case.
"Thanks to Jonathan and his team I feel well placed to move forward with my life".
Image credit: Mick Lobb [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
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