InsightsClient Story - Medical Negligence - POSTED: March 19 2020
Compensation for family of child who died of sepsis after brain injury
Senior Associate, Harriet Humphrey acted for the family of a child, known as ‘PG’, who suffered from Di-George syndrome and kidney failure.
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In December 2014 he became very unwell with respiratory issues and was taken to the Evelina Children’s Hospital where he was treated on the renal ward. It was the family’s claim that there were failures including to undertake a chest x-ray and admit PG to the Paediatric Intensive Care unit (PICU) in good time.
When PG was eventually transferred to PICU to insert a chest drain, on induction of anaesthetic, PG suffered a cardiac arrest and brain injury. PG was in hospital for many weeks extremely unwell. Prior to the brain injury he had been learning to walk but afterwards could only shuffle on this bottom. He suffered personality changes and problems with gross and fine motor skills. Harriet commenced a claim for clinical negligence for PG through his mother as a litigation friend.
While that case was being investigated, in July 2017, PG was admitted to the Evelina Hospital to have his feeding tube changed. Surgery was commenced but abandoned as it was considered that the necessary machinery was not available to undertake this and that otherwise open surgery was needed and would have to be scheduled at another time. There were also issues about whether the right consents had been obtained from the family.
Following this, PG became extremely unwell and it was found that there was a leak from his feeding tube into his perineum. PG suffered from intra-abdominal sepsis which led to his death. Harriet represented the family at an inquest into PG’s death and then in relation to a legal claim where it was alleged that the hospital should have changed the feeding tube sooner – leaving it too long had led to ‘the bumper’ becoming embedded which meant the operation could not go ahead as expected.
It was also alleged that the surgeon should have been aware of the risks of causing a leak when he manipulated the feeding tube and then abandoned the surgery. It was further alleged that it was inadequate to not have the relevant equipment which the surgeon stated in the inquest would have allowed surgery to be completed. The inquest heard that alternative surgery could have been carried out at the time and it was the family’s case that this should have been done.
The Hospital Trust made no admissions of liability in relation to either case – for the brain injury in 2014 or the death in 2017 – but a settlement was agreed, providing some compensation for PG’s estate.
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