Meningitis patient wins clinical negligence compensation claim

  • Posted

Posted 26/11/2009

A man who suffered brain damage after his meningitis was misdiagnosed has won a clinical negligence compensation claim worth £3.2 million.

The payout was awarded to the family of Mark Thomas, 20, after a court heard that he was sent away from hospital in 2002 despite showing symptoms of the disease.

Walsall NHS Hospitals Trust staff then failed to recall the family when blood test results became available and diagnosed his condition only after he had already suffered severe neurological impairment.

Mr Thomas now experiences short-term memory loss and relies on constant care from his parents, leaving him unable to lead an independent life.

The trust has now admitted liability for the incident and agreed to pay compensation to fund the cost of the victim’s care.

Sue James, chief executive of Walsall NHS Hospital Trust, said: “We wish to apologise again to Mark and deeply regret the delay in diagnosing his condition.”

In September, a study published by the Imperial Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality revealed that around a sixth of NHS patients are currently being misdiagnosed.

Sandra Patton, a clinical negligence specialist at Ashtons Legal, said: “This case shows the devastating effects that meningitis can have and the need for careful assessment and prompt diagnosis.

“We have had a number of these cases, many sadly involving children, where symptoms have been thought to be quite benign and precious time has been lost in fighting the infection.

“The patient, or in the case of a child, the parents often do know when something is seriously wrong, and when they are turned away by doctors it is even more distressing when they go on to suffer devastating disabilities, as happened here.”


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