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Claimants Recover Negligence Losses After Daughter's Death

View profile for Helen Elstob
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Claimants recently came to Tilly Bailey & Irvine with a heartbreaking story of the loss of their seven-year-old daughter, leaving with damages of almost £30,000 as a result of medical negligence.

Senior Associate Solicitor Helen Elstob represented the parents of the young girl, who tragically died just under two years ago on 27 November 2016.

20 days prior, the parents took their daughter to the University Hospital of North Tees after she experienced a history of vomiting, high temperature, chest pains and unwell feelings. Following initial investigations and review by a Consultant, the impression was viral illness and the girl was discharged.

The family returned to hospital the next day when the daughter again felt unwell. She was admitted to the same hospital and continued having breathing difficulties, feeling irritable and unsettled. The observations detailed in medical records showed that PEWS (Paediatric Early Warning Score) increased, but there was no Consultant review or intervention during the numerous hours when her PEWS were high.

She was dehydrated. She was on fluids, but they had been incorrectly calculated and so they were insufficient and did not address the issue.

It was not until the 12 November that the doctors treating her decided she required intensive care support. Following transfer to theatre for incubation, she went into cardiac arrest, requiring CPR for three minutes and a dose of adrenalin. The girl was transferred to the RVI.

On 21 November, an MRI reported diffused cytotoxic insult with laminar necrosis, likely secondary to toxic/metabolic injury.

On 27 November, the girl sadly died.

This event was identified by the hospital Trust as a serious incident and an investigation was undertaken. A letter of claim was sent to the hospital Trust on behalf of her parents, setting out the allegations of negligence including:

  • Their failure to acknowledge or investigate her upper airway problem, despite there being clear indication of severe upper respiratory obstruction due to the level of respiratory distress and significant oxygen required
  • Their failure to have her reviewed at senior level
  • Their failure to correctly calculate fluid replacement
  • Their failure to recognise sepsis, initiate treatment or prompt early signs of deterioration in an at-risk patient.

The hospital Trust admitted that their failure to monitor and treat the girl’s upper respiratory airway subsequently lead to lower respiratory tract infection, fatigue and finally sepsis with renal impairment and respiratory failure. They admitted their negligence resulted in personal injury, loss and death.

The settlement of £28,545 was made up of damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity, statutory bereavement award and funeral expenses.

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