KF v DORSET COUNTY HOSPITAL NHS FOUNDATION TRUST (2020)

Leslie Keegan manages to secure a six-figure settlement for client where there was a 4 ½  year delay in the diagnosis of MS.  C suffered progression of untreated MS for four and a half years. She was unable to carry out certain normal daily activities, including heavy domestic tasks, and she had to reduce her working hours. Once she was correctly diagnosed, she received intensive therapy input to treat the MS.

The claimant, a 52-year-old woman, received £275,000 for a four-and-a-half-year delay in diagnosing and treating her multiple sclerosis, from January 2011. The MS progressed and affected her domestic, leisure and work capabilities.

The claimant (C), female, aged 44 at date of the accident and 52 at the date of the settlement, sustained injuries when, in January 2011 she attended a hospital of the defendant trust (D) complaining of having suffered right-sided weakness for a few days. After undergoing an MRI scan she was diagnosed as having suffered a stroke. In April 2011 and over the following years she returned to D’s hospital complaining of exacerbation of the symptoms. Some symptoms were caused by unrelated illnesses but others were not. On each occasion she was told that the symptoms were caused by fatigue, anxiety or depression. Four and a half years after she first presented at D’s hospital with right-sided weakness, she was diagnosed as having multiple sclerosis. She was subsequently treated using intensive therapy input.

C suffered a delay in being correctly diagnosed and brought an action against D alleging that it was negligent in 2011 for failing to appreciate that she had not suffered a stroke and in failing to refer her to a neurologist. C argued that the diagnosis of a stroke affected all further interpretations of her symptomatology. She contended that, if she had been referred to a neurologist in 2011, she would have been diagnosed as having MS and the episodes from April 2011 when she returned to D’s hospital would have been recognised as MS relapses. C argued that it was likely that further MR brain imaging would then have been carried out to determine the suitable level of therapy, she would have been treated at an earlier stage with disease-modifying therapies, her disability would not have progressed as it did and she would have avoided the need for intensive therapy input. Liability was admitted although the exact amount of delay was in dispute.

C suffered progression of untreated MS for four and a half years. She was unable to carry out certain normal daily activities, including heavy domestic tasks, and she had to reduce her working hours. Once she was correctly diagnosed, she received intensive therapy input to treat the MS.

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