At the age of 11, Billy was admitted to the Yeovil District Hospital on 27 November 2000 as he had been vomiting profusely and suffering from a headache. He then had lapsed into a state of unconsciousness. The following day a MRI brain scan was carried out and reported as normal. This was incorrect as a tumour was eventually removed surgically, 7 years later, in December 2007. This was present and apparent on the scan taken back in 2000. Billy was discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of migraine. On 23 March 2001 Billy underwent further MRI scanning whereby no change in diagnosis/treatment was made.
Billy continued to be followed up at the Yeovil hospital and he, unfortunately, continued to have a number of epileptic fits which were not investigated. On 17 June 2005 Billy suffered a 25 minute major generalised tonic clonic epileptic seizure. He was referred to a consultant neurologist at the Salisbury District Hospital. Even though he continued to have complex partial epileptic seizures a further investigative MRI scan was not performed until 14 June 2007. This scan indicated an abnormality in the left temporal lobe consistent with an intrinsic tumour. Billy was then referred to a neuro surgeon at the Southampton General Hospital.
In August 2007, the brain imaging carried out on 28 November 2000 was compared to that taken on 14 June 2007 in the epilepsy clinic at the Southampton General Hospital. It was noted that over the seven years the tumour had changed considerably so that it had become larger and had an increased amount of enhancement. In December 2007 the tumour was surgically removed and it was thought that complete macroscopic clearance had been achieved.
As a result of the removal Billy was free from the seizures for 10 months until October 2008. However by February 2010 Billy was having almost daily complex partial seizures. He was also experiencing fatigue and was prescribed anti-epileptic drugs. The seizures have continued and Billy has been left with epilepsy which causes complex partial and secondary generalised seizures. Furthermore, his memory has been affected and he continues to suffer anxiety, lowered mood, depression and considerable confusion due to the delayed diagnosis.
With competent care the tumour would have been identified in November 2000 and the cause of Billy's epilepsy and seizures established. Surgery would have been carried out in 2001, which would have removed the tumour and would have been curative of Billy's epilepsy. He would not have suffered from neurological problems and he would have been able to return to full-time school. It is likely that he would have obtained good results at GCSEs and at A Level and progressed to tertiary education. From Billy's perspective his biggest disability is that he is unable to drive as a result of the epilepsy. As he lives in a rural area this causes him significant difficulties and makes the likelihood of him becoming a car mechanic (always his ambition) very small.
We were able to obtain interim payments on Billy's behalf which enabled him to obtain specialist advice in relation to his epilepsy, appoint a case manager, to obtain care worker support and rent a suitable property. Medical negligence solicitor Paul McNeil settled Billy's case in March 2013 for almost £3.5 million which will go a long way towards supporting both his medical and personal needs
Since the settlement Billy has gone on to say:
"After developing all different kinds of seizures on a regular basis because of a brain tumour missed over 7 years, I thought I had no hope for a life with any opportunities. Now thanks to Paul he has got me life and a future."
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