£50,000 Compensation for Missed Diagnosis of Giant Cell Arteritis

Author:
Kay Barnes
Partner, Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
29/12/2020

A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study - Client Situation

Mr M was suffering with an inflammatory disorder that causes widespread aching, stiffness and flu-like symptoms, and had been advised to get treatment straight away when he started showing symptoms.

So when Mr M’s wife noticed that his temple was swollen on March 22 2017, she was concerned that his condition had returned and contacted their GP to arrange an urgent appointment.

His GP confirmed complaints of a swollen temple, headaches and discomfort when eating, took a blood test and prescribed oral steroids.

After going to the doctor’s again the next day, the GP noted that Mr M was experiencing “flashing blue lights”, prescribed more oral steroids, and recommended he see a consultant rheumatologist the next week.

At this point, Mr M was satisfied that proper treatment had been given and that there was no cause for concern, so he and his wife went on holiday. On March 25th, however, during their break, he received a phone call stating that his situation was urgent and that he should see a consultant rheumatologist straight away.

Mr M anxiously drove home and immediately went to St James Hospital in Leeds, where we was examined by an ophthalmologist. He was diagnosed with Giant Cell Arteritis and told this had caused him to permanently lose the vision in his right eye.

Mr M was devastated by the diagnosis, and contacted our expert Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free claims assessment and legal advice. He asked us for advice on claiming against his GP, as he felt that if he’d been referred to hospital as an emergency, Giant Cell Arteritis would have been diagnosed earlier, and he would’ve received treatment that would have prevented his loss of vision.

How We Helped

Medical Negligence Solicitor Kay Barnes agreed to help Mr M claim compensation, acting on a No Win, No Fee basis.

Following a thorough investigation, Kay determined that a medical mistake had been made by Mr M’s GP, as the client presented with clinical symptoms that suggested Giant Cell Arteritis and should have been urgently referred to a rheumatology expert.

Kay also established that if Mr M had been referred and got treatment much sooner, his loss of vision could have been avoided.

Kay arranged for Mr M to be assessed by an independent ophthalmic expert, who confirmed that the loss of vision in his right eye was permanent.

She then approached the GP’s legal representatives, and although they didn’t make a formal admission of liability (fault), they were open to settling the medical negligence claim. Kay put forward an appropriate amount of compensation based on her investigation reflecting:

  • The pain and suffering Mr M had experienced
  • How his loss of vision had affected his quality of life
  • Moderate financial losses, including extra care and emotional support provided by his wife, plus parking and travel expenses incurred when he went to hospital

Kay also looked at the possibility of a provisional award for a further injury that could develop in the future, as Mr M suffered a cataract in his remaining good eye. That meant he’d be left blind if he suffered any impairment in that eye.

The Outcome

Following negotiations between Kay and the GP’s legal team, a compensation settlement of £50,000 was agreed.

Mr M had been eager to settle the claim amicably without the need to go to Court, so he was happy to accept the settlement.

 

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