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Delay in diagnosis in woman resulted in brain injury

Woman awarded thousands in compensation after GP misread her lumbar puncture results causing a delay in diagnosis.

40 year old Lucy is married and a mother of two young boys. She worked as a credit controller and in 2009 suffered severe headaches over a period of five days.

She went to her A&E department where they carried out a lumbar puncture on her spine to see if there was any infection which could be causing the severe headaches.

However, the junior doctor she saw sent her home before he even reviewed the results of the test, preferring to send the results to her GP in the standard way.

Lucy’s GP received the results within a few days but he misread the results as being normal.

Over the next week Lucy deteriorated. Her headaches became so severe that she started vomiting, had slurred speech and vision and she collapsed. She was rushed back to A&E and was admitted straight away.

The hospital initially misdiagnosed Lucy with meningitis and began treating her with drugs for that. However, it soon became apparent that she was not suffering from meningitis but from a form of encephalitis. Her treatment was changed but it was over 8 days too late.

The delay in diagnosis and treatment caused Lucy to suffer a brain injury.

Now she suffers with low mood, poor memory, behavioural issues and she is agoraphobic, meaning she cannot return to work. The hospital’s mistake has had a profound effect on her family life and her finances spiralled out of control.

We were able to sue the hospital and the case settled before trial for a substantial sum, which has helped the family finances get back on track and assist them into the future.

Lesley Herbertson acted for Lucy and commented:

It was a pleasure to finally secure compensation for Lucy after the hospital Trust had strongly defended the claim almost all the way to trial. Lucy and her family were very relieved and happy to get the result that they wanted and have now been able to move on with their lives.

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