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Mathew’s Story: £75,000 Compensation for Fatal Failure to Treat Sepsis and Hypothermia

Mathew* contacted us concerning the death of his son following treatment at University Hospital of North Durham.  He sought our help with investigations into whether his son’s death could have been avoided, if he had received competent medical treatment.

The case was concluded with the Defendant, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, admitting having provided substandard treatment and agreeing to pay £75,000 as compensation. 

Our work was funded under the terms of a No-win No Fee Conditional Fee Agreement.

 Background

Mathew’s son, Luke**, had been admitted to North Durham Hospital as he had diarrhoea, sickness and a fever with hypothermia.

Initially, Luke had received attention in A&E on the presumption that his symptoms were caused by gastroenteritis.  He had then been transferred to a ward, where his condition seemingly improved to some extent.

Though the clinicians recorded that they were still concerned about their observation findings, as Luke had shown some improvement, they decided to discharge him home.

When Mathew contacted us, he was very concerned about the decision to send his son home.  Mathew and other members of Luke’s family recalled that Luke had been too weak to walk when the hospital sent him home. 

In the days after being sent home, Luke had continued to suffer with symptoms of sickness and fever.  Over the course of the week, his symptoms got worse and he began to hallucinate.

Given his ongoing symptoms, he sought further help and was readmitted to North Durham Hospital suffering with severe hypothermia, low blood sugar levels and a low heartrate. He had initial treatment by way of warming, but despite his ongoing critically unwell presentation, Luke was sedated and moved to the acute medical ward without a warming device or cardiac monitor. His temperature was not recorded and no observations took place.

 Luke was extremely unwell and went into cardiac arrest. He was resuscitated and moved to the Intensive Care Unit but unfortunately passed away later that day.

Establishing liability

After contacting us for a no-obligation consultation, Mathew instructed Longden Walker and Renney to investigate a Claim for damages against County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Our work was funded by a No Win No Fee Conditional Fee-Agreement.

We prepared relevant Witness Statements and obtained copies of Luke’s medical records.

Expert medical evidence was obtained from independent specialists in Accident and Emergency care and from a Consultant Intensivist.  Both independent medical experts were critical of the treatment provided by North Durham Hospital and supported allegations that Luke had suffered harm due to substandard practice.

We prepared a formal Letter of Claim setting out the details of the allegations.  On Mathew’s instruction, we sent those allegations to the NHS Trust responsible for treatment at North Durham Hospital, County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

The Defendant NHS Trust responded by making admissions and, after some further work on our part, proceeded to negotiate settlement. 

 Valuing the claim

With admission of liability, our specialist solicitor Amy Nesbitt provided Mathew with advice about the likely value of the claim if it was concluded in Court.

In order for her to do this, she first obtained a wide variety of information concerning matters such as Luke’s employment and his family life. 

Once Amy had information and instructions, she prepared a Schedule of Loss and, on client instructions, forwarded a copy to the Defendant NHS Trust in order to start settlement negotiations.

After a period of negotiations between both parties, the case was settled for £75,000.

If you would like to discuss a potential claim relating to substandard care during a pregnancy or after a birth, do not hesitate to contact us for a no obligation, free consultation about securing compensation and getting rehabilitation support as quickly as possible.

Any claim for compensation will need to take into account pain, suffering and loss of amenity together with any past and future financial loss and expense including earnings, rehabilitation and treatment costs and nursing care.

If Mathew’s story is similar to your experience in any way, please contact our team of solicitors on 0191 5666 900. Alternatively, you can fill in our no obligation enquiry form.

  *Our client’s name has been changed to protect their identity

** Our client’s son’s name has also been changed

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