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Case Study

Compensation for failure to diagnose meningitis over 20 years ago

Edwina Rawson recovered compensation for Christopher 20 years after he suffered injuries following a community midwife’s delay in diagnosing meningitis.

Christopher was born in 1983, at Warneford Maternity Hospital, a normal healthy baby. Shortly after discharge from hospital, he was seen by a community midwife at home.

Our case was that the community midwife failed to recognise that Christopher was showing symptoms of a serious illness and needed urgent medical treatment.

No further action was taken, and there was apparently no cause for concern.

In the early hours of the following morning, 3 September 1983, Christopher deteriorated. He was taken to the A&E department at Stratford upon Avon Hospital, and referred immediately to Warwick General Hospital.

Christopher was diagnosed as suffering meningitis and treatment was provided urgently.

Unfortunately, as a result of the meningitis, Christopher developed hydrocephalus, poorly controlled epilepsy and permanent frontal brain damage, which has resulted in learning difficulties and poorly controlled epilepsy.

Christopher is able to carry out many daily activities, but can struggle with organising even simple things. If the correct diagnosis had been made earlier, he would have been treated sooner and had a much better outcome.

We took Christopher’s case on after he had been with other solicitors for about 4 years, and a huge amount of work had to be done very quickly.

In addition, the case was difficult because the treatment in question happened over 20 years earlier, and there were no medical notes of the community midwife’s visit. The case had to be based upon the medical records upon admission to Warwick General Hospital, and Christopher’s parents’ memory.

Despite the difficulties, a settlement of £2 million was reached. The money will enable Christopher to have much more independence, assistance, and chance to enjoy life than he would have had otherwise.

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