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Case Study

Barts Health NHS Trust admits liability for delays in surgery for 9-month-old suffering malrotation

Mark Bowman was instructed by the parents of MXD, whose identity is anonymised, after failures in his treatment caused irreversible damage to his digestive system.

MXD suffered with malrotation, a congenital condition causing the bowel to twist spontaneously. Often the bowel will untwist without intervention causing no damage to the patient, but where it does not untwist, emergency surgery is necessary. Aged six months, MXD presented to A&E at Newham Hospital with a history of green vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort and poor feeding. He was diagnosed with a stomach bug.

One month later he attended A&E again with his parents reporting the same symptoms and no improvement. The diagnosis was again a viral illness. A further two weeks later, MXD attended an outpatient assessment with a paediatrician. His symptoms were considered to be the result of a food allergy.

Despite undergoing three separate examinations, no further investigation was undertaken meaning the condition remained undiagnosed. Sadly, aged nine months, MXD deteriorated as a result of his bowel being unable to untwist. He was brought again to A&E at Newham Hospital where the condition was finally recognised. Unfortunately, further delays meant that the emergency surgery was not performed until several hours after his admission.

As a result, the blood supply to MXD's bowel was severely compromised. He required seven months of inpatient treatment and is now left with short bowel syndrome and will need permanent tube feeding. At only five years old, MXD has suffered several line infections and spent significant time in hospital. He requires around the clock care, particularly during the night, currently provided entirely by his parents.

With proper treatment, MXD should have been referred to the care of a paediatrician after he first went A&E. He then would have undergone imaging which would have revealed his condition. He would have received pre-emptive surgery to prevent his bowel from twisting again, thereby avoiding all of the complications he now suffers. Liability for the injuries was initially denied by the trust, which argued that it was reasonable to consider that a child of MXD's age and presentation did not require further investigation.

With the support of medical experts in A&E, paediatrics and paediatric surgery, proceedings were issued against the Trust, which continued to deny liability following exchange of expert evidence. It was only shortly after joint expert statements and weeks before trial that a full admission of liability was made.

The acceptance of full responsibility for MXD's injuries ensures that he will be compensated in full for the losses and damage caused by his injuries. A substantial interim payment was made which will provide the parents with much needed support and respite. We will now go on to fully quantify the claim.

Contact us

For further information about paediatrics negligence and accident and emergency negligence, please call Mark Bowman on 020 7861 4043 or email mark.bowman@fieldfisher.com.

Alternatively

All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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