Simpson Millar Wins Rare Blood Disorder Claim

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A medical negligence Lawyer at Simpson Millar LLP has helped the family of a young girl win a multi-million pound settlement for a failure to diagnose her rare blood disorder.

Rare Blood Disorder

Haemophilia is a condition that affects your blood's ability to clot. There are many different types of the disorder but a factor 13 deficiency is the rarest only occurring in 1 in 5 million births. If factor 13 is not present in your body, an unstable clot will form. Eventually, this clot will break down and cause continued bleeding. This continuous bleeding is often associated with trauma or injury.

The deficiency is picked up through blood tests when a child experiences unusual signs of excessive bleeding. If the signs are missed, the deficiency can have devastating consequences for a child, as we found out when we acted for a family in this situation.

Simpson Millar LLP Investigate Thoroughly

We acted on behalf of the family of a 3 year old little girl. She appeared to be a normal, healthy little girl until the age of 3 when she fell off her bed at home and banged her head on the wall. At the hospital, a brain scan revealed that she had a swelling on her brain that contained blood. This is called a haematoma. This swelling was pushing her brain to the side of her skull. Unfortunately, brain damage occurred as a result of the swelling and she will need to be taken care of for the rest of her life.

The family originally approached Simpson Millar because they believed an avoidable delay in operating on the haematoma caused the little girl's brain damage. A medical report requested on the case cleared the hospital of any wrong doing. It concluded that the doctors had acted quickly to recognise the bleed and operated.

A doctor who specialised in diseases of the blood then conducted a simple blood test on the little girl and her brother that revealed they both had factor 13 deficiency. They were put on drugs to prevent either of them suffering bleeds in the future.

Medical Records Reveal a Fault

Now that we had a clear diagnosis, we decided to look into the little girl's medical records for more evidence. We discovered that 11 days after her birth, her mother took her back to the hospital because she was suffering from excessive bleeding from her umbilical stump, where the cord had been cut. After careful research, we discovered that this was a classic feature of the deficiency that should have been diagnosed at the time.

With an earlier diagnosis and appropriate drug therapy, could the little girl have avoided brain damage at the age of 3? This is something we had to prove to make a successful case and win the girl some much needed financial support. To further his investigations, we instructed a consultant who specialised in medical care for newborn infants. The consultant however did not come back with a positive result. It was his opinion that because the blood disorder was so rare, and only affected 1 in 5 million births, it would be inappropriate to criticise doctors for not recognising its signs. Most doctors, he said, would never see a case like this in their whole careers!

Not satisfied, we pressed on with our investigations. We consulted another expert who concluded that the hospital was in fact negligent in not diagnosing the factor 13 deficiency. If she had been given a simple blood test by a specialist when her excessive bleeding was brought to their attention, she would have been given the appropriate drug therapy. This could have led to her avoiding the severe bleed that caused her brain damage when she fell off her bed.

Hospital Trust Denies Responsibility

Predictably, when we presented the case to the hospital Trust they denied responsibility. They said, they could not be held responsible for not diagnosing a disorder that most doctors will never see in their lifetime. Court proceedings were issued.

The hospital fought the case almost to the steps of the Court but in a triumph for the little girl and her family, they settled out of court. We were successful in securing a multi-million pound damages award for the little girl's brain damage.

Getting Legal Advice

This story really does highlight that no matter how rare a condition or diagnosis, if a doctor fails to do the right tests, then they are responsible for the consequences and a substantial compensation award can be made.

If you have concerns that your child may not have been diagnosed with a rare but treatable condition that has led to a significant brain injury, you should seek legal advice immediately. Your solicitor may be able to prove that due to their negligence, they are responsible for your child's brain injury. You will then be able to successfully claim compensation for medical negligence that will make yours and your child's life a lot easier.




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