Mr A, a 72 year old man, visited a GP surgery in early February, suffering from headaches, which was unusual for him. The doctor who saw him ruled out any serious condition and Mr A was sent home.
A month later, Mr A returned to the surgery still suffering from the severe headaches. He described to a second doctor (the defendant in this case) his symptoms of swollen prominent temporal arteries and flu-like symptoms. This doctor also dismissed any serious underlying medical condition causing the headaches, instead suggesting the headaches were due to stress.
Unfortunately, a few days later, Mr A awoke with deteriorating vision in his right and left eyes. He attended the surgery again and saw the first doctor. Upon discussing his symptoms again, Mr A was immediately referred to Worcester Royal Hospital with a note stating he was suffering from suspected ‘temporal arthritis’ (inflammation of the temporal arteries). This diagnosis was confirmed at the hospital following a biopsy and steroid treatment began; however, unfortunately the treatment did not commence soon enough to prevent Mr A losing the sight in his right eye.
We were instructed by him to initially obtain some answers to pertinent questions he had in relation to his care and treatment. He was hopeful that, by pursuing his case, lessons would be learned and it would prevent something similar happening to another person in the future. We advised him to pursue the NHS complaints procedure to seek such answers and also instructed experts to assist with providing an independent opinion on the issues. The experts involved in the case concluded that had an earlier diagnosis been made, on the balance of probabilities, he would not have lost his vision in his right eye as immediate steroid treatment would have been started that would have prevented the underlying condition developing.
Unfortunately an initial admission of liability was not forthcoming. As a result formal court proceedings were issued and following further negotiations, the defendant altered their stance and we managed to negotiate a settlement with the defendant in the sum of £65,000. Mr A donated his compensation to charitable causes.
We were able to provide Mr A with an independent expert opinion in relation to his particular circumstances as part of the overall conclusion to the case, which was extremely important to him.
He was also reassured that his case had led to lessons having been learned which he hoped would prevent other people going through the same experience as him.
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