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Case Study

Hospital wrongly diagnoses dementia for man with brain injury

Philip Blewett was a gentle, kind individual with a dry sense of humour and strong family ties. He was well known in his local area and is well liked. He had a number of interests including music, crosswords, History and attending West Ham United as a season ticket holder. He obtained a History Degree in the early 1980s.


The year prior to the accident Philip's family had some concerns about his memory and he had consequently been assessed in the local Memory Clinic and was diagnosed with a Mild Cognitive Impairment secondary to early on set Alzheimer's disease. This was difficult to accept having predominately cared for his father whose dementia emerged in his 70's, living until the age of 96.

Philip was crossing a 3 lane crossing at Stratford when, in the final lane, he was struck by a white van. There was no other traffic and he was clearly there to be seen.  The injuries were far reaching and disastrous.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury, skull fracture, various broken ribs and fractured vertebrae.  His injuries were dealt with in an emergency setting but after an initial hospital repatriation he was eventually transferred, not to a neuro rehabilitation unit but a dementia ward. No specialist input or care was provided in respect of his brain injury.

A number of weeks post-brain injury, he had not received any neurology assessment or neuro rehabilitation despite CT scans confirming that he has sustained severe traumatic brain injury at the time of the accident.  Fieldfisher were instructed and the situation was immediately recognised, an interim payment was agreed and Sweet Tree carers were paid for to care for Philip on the ward until a suitable place was found for neuro rehabilitation.  By this time Philip was presenting with many difficult traits flowing from the brain injury and the unit staff did not have the capability to deal.  As a result during his stay he required 4 acute hospital admissions, for hypertension and dehydration. 

Neuro rehabilitation centres in the area were reviewed by the case manager and Philip's family and Philip was transferred to the Raphael Medical Centre. His brain injury had exacerbated the underlying dementing process and his care package was tailored to his complex needs. Eventually, it was decided that the beneficial gains had plateaued and it was agreed that Philip would be transferred to a care home. Suitable care homes in the area were carefully assessed with the family and an appropriate care home with the correct care needs was found.

Philip is no longer able to care for himself; he rarely recognises his family and his previous life had been disastrously stripped away from him. The impact on his family has been immense they have been and will continue to be hugely supportive. 

A settlement was reached very quickly in the litigation which provides for the care home costs, care, aids and equipment, therapies - including music therapy which he so enjoyed pre-accident and will provide as comfortable a life as possible for Philip.

Following settlement, Philip's family said:

"Just wanted to say a huge thankyou to everyone, this is a real achievement and you should be immensely proud of yourselves!

Words cannot express our true feelings. Had you known Philip prior to the accident you would have liked his kind and generous nature.  To know that you have ensured that he now has the best of care without any concerns is a true blessing and we have you and all the team to thank.

Well done you are the best, and such genuine and nice people we are so fortunate to have you found you.
Jenny, your input has been magnificent. The qualities you have both personally and professionally are admired by us all.  What you have achieved for Philip is remarkable. This ensures he has the best of care and gives us enormous peace of mind."

Philip's story was reported on the BBC website, Click here to read more.

Contact us

For further information about brain injury claims and personal injury claims, please call Jennifer Buchanan on 020 7861 4530 or email jennifer.buchanan@fieldfisher.com.

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

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