£15 million medical negligence settlement for Jacob Stratton for catastrophic misdiagnosis of meningitis
In early 2008 I settled a case for the grieving family of Christopher, a toddler who was misdiagnosed with tonsillitis, when in fact, he had meningococcal septicaemia. A condition caused by meningitis.
Christopher's doctor performed an examination and diagnosed tonsillitis. He prescribed Calpol, Nurofen, and Penicillin and then discharged Christopher from hospital without further treatment. Days later the misdiagnosis resulted in Christopher's death.
Today I read a story in the "Kent Online". It saddened me to read that my case wasn’t the only one that involved such gross medical negligence. The same negligent care that killed Christopher was happening in other hospitals, to other children and at around the same time.
Jacob Stratton was just six weeks old when he contracted meningitis and just like Christopher, Jacob was misdiagnosed too as negligent advisors told his parents to give him Calpol and keep him at home.
After seeing Jacob's condition rapidly deteriorate, his parents rushed him to hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumococcal meningitis – a form of bacterial meningitis. Jacob's parents were told he had 30 minutes to live.
I can't imagine what his parents must have been going through at that time. They had already taken Jacob into a walk in centre the day before and were sent home without so much as his temperature being recorded.
After spending four days on life support, Jacob's parents were told that it needed to be switched off
Jacob's father Mr Stratton said:
“We were told they were going to take him off the life support machine, but they did not know what capability he had. If he had lost his reflux – the ability to cough and clear his throat – then he would die.”
Jacob now suffers from cerebral palsy and quadriplegia; he needs round the clock care and will do for the rest of his life. The extensive brain damage that Jacob suffered means he now needs to communicate through a computer that tracks his eyes. Jacob is wheelchair bound at only nine years old.
All of this could have been entirely avoided, had he received the most basic of care by people we trust, literally - with our lives.
It's unfortunate that incidents of medical negligence like those that we have seen in the cases of Christopher and Jacob even exist, in the healthcare system we have today.
We have the medical expertise, along with the equipment and resources to ensure mistakes like this do not happen, yet children are still suffering from catastrophic injuries. Hopefully the new NICE Guidelines on Sepsis will help ensure that children such as Christopher and Jacob receive appropriate care in the future, and cases such as these will be avoided. All of us would rather see resources being spent on improving patient safety than on having to pay significant sums of compensation.
Jacob was recently awarded £15 million to help him move forward in his life and to help pay for the best possible support and care he will need in the future. The money was awarded after a lengthy legal battle in which Jacob recovered his damages for the negligent care he received.
Jacob's mother Mrs Stratton said: “Jacob is an absolute charmer. He’s very cognitively aware; he knows exactly what’s going on around him. He has a zest for life. All the challenges he faces, he’s gradually working his way around them.”
By Mark Bowman
Mark joined the award winning Fieldfisher Personal Injury and Medical Negligence team as a trainee in 2003 and was promoted to Partner in 2013. He successfully pursues personal injury claims and medical negligence claims on behalf of victims and their families.
His medical negligence practice is wide ranging and includes birth injury, surgical negligence and delayed diagnosis amongst others. His personal injury speciality is catastrophic injury cases and in particular road traffic accidents and accidents at work. Mark has recently secured the right to anonymity for Claimants who are protected parties or children in personal injury or medical negligence cases, in the landmark Court of Appeal case of JxMx.
If you or your loved one has suffered from medical negligence or a substandard level of care and would like to talk about making a claim, call Mark Bowman on:
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