Gary began to suffer from depression in July 1994. It became progressively worse until in March 1996 he was voluntarily admitted to the Goodmayes Hospital for an assessment pursuant to Section 2 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
On admission, Gary was prescribed an anti-depressant which caused an epileptic seizure. This is one of the recognised adverse reactions to that drug.
When he recovered from the fit he became restless and agitated and complained about pain in both his shoulders and elbows. He was taken to King George Hospital for assessment in the accident and emergency department.
Gary continued to complain of pain in both shoulders, treatment was only prescribed in respect of his left shoulder. He continued to complain of pain in both shoulders but nothing further was done orthopaedically to his right shoulder.
Some days later he was seen by the orthopaedic surgeon and X-rays were taken of his right shoulder and a fracture of the neck of the humerus bones of both arms with possible subluxation was diagnosed.
It was apparent that the injury to the right shoulder had occurred at the same time as the injury to the left shoulder.
If this diagnosis been made at the time, Gary would have made a good recovery from the injury to the right shoulder. He would have had manipulation under anaesthetic of that shoulder and would not have developed avascular necrosis or the continuing serious right shoulder pain.
The Health Authority admitted liability for failing to diagnose and treat the original injury to the right shoulder, but contested that earlier treatment would have made any difference. The action was due to come to Court on 6 June.
The significant issue between the parties was whether or not Gary would have returned to work as a plasterer. On the balance of probabilities, it was thought that even with optimum treatment he would not have got back to work as a plasterer and therefore suffered no loss of earnings.
We settled a few days before trial and Gary accepted £17,500 compensation for the errors in his treatment.
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