Hospital patient wins big on medical negligence claim

Industry news roundup: week ended 31 Dec 2012:

While it won’t bring back the leg he lost while under bungled medical care, one hospital patient recently received a large personal injury compensation payment.

Russell Hession, a fifty three year old native of Ongar, in Essex, had been suffering from severe pains in his extremities, which prompted him to visit the Princess Alexandra Hospital to seek treatment. Mr Hession appeared with a letter in hand – written by his GP no less – detailing how he had been given treatment for a blood clot within his lung several years ago and that blood clots ran in his family, yet hospital staff found nothing of the sort and sent him home.

However, Mr Hession soon began to experience even worse and more excruciating pains in his arms and legs, forcing him to return to hospital where he was given an ultrasound examination, this time to search of any evidence of deep vein thrombosis. Again there was nothing amiss according to the medical professionals, and on a third hospital visit – which had Mr Hession nearly incapacitated from pain, he was informed that he should take two paracetamol tablets for the ‘torn muscle’ he was suffering from.

Of course, it turns out that the poor man did indeed have a terrible blood clot, and his GP was the one who discovered it after being unable to find the man’s pulse in his right leg. Mr Hession’s blood flow in that leg had been reduced by so much and for so long that the only option left was amputation.

That was quite enough, as far as Mr Hession was concerned, and he launched a medical negligence compensation against the NHS Trust for the hospital on the grounds that he would still be walking about on two legs if hospital staff weren’t so incompetent. After the hospital made an admission of liability for his lost leg, Mr Hession was awarded a compensation award for £500,000 – cold comfort for a missing leg, but at least the parties responsible have had to pay for their mistakes!

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