MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE WATCH – FAILURE TO DO THE RIGHT TEST AGAIN

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 For those of us dealing with Medical Negligence Claims, we regularly encounter situations of negligence that are simply down to failure to do the appropriate test at the right time.

A recent Decision of the High Court in the case of Mr. G. touches on the same issue with facts very similar to the ones on which we posted a recent blog.

Mr. G. underwent a bowel operation during which a tear occurred.   Having physically palpated the bowel, the Surgeon concluded that the tear was superficial only and that no further intervention was necessary.

Shortly after the operation Mr. G. had elevated CRP figures and his abdomen became distended and uncomfortable.   An X-ray showed the repair to be intact.   No explanation was found for Mr. G’s symptoms.   CRUCIALLY a scan was not carried out.

Some days later a significant exploratory operation was undertaken and a stoma bag fitted to drain off gathered fluid and material that appeared to be infected as a result of a leak.   Mr. G remained critically ill for over a week.

When he appeared to have recovered significantly he was discharged home but his condition deteriorated and he was readmitted.   After the removal of the bag and some infection treatment he appeared to recover.

He was admitted again having developed a significant hernia.   On medical advice there was no further operation to address the hernia, primarily because of the risk of further infection.

When reviewed by the High Court, it was accepted that a ‘tear’ was a foreseeable risk of the procedure carried out on Mr. G.   Further, it was accepted that even on physical palpitation by the surgeon, the fact that the tear had fully perforated the bowel could be missed and that this, of itself, would not be negligence.

However, the Court was clear in its finding that the failure to carry out a CT or similar scan when an x-ray failed to disclose the cause of Mr. G’s post- operative symptoms the results of which would have dictated immediate surgical intervention was negligent.   This failure could not be defended.

The message from many such cases are how easily the adverse consequences of medical negligence could be avoided. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if undergoing any medical procedure

* A Solicitor may not charge fees or levy or any other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.

 

 

 

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