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Little girl who lost all four limbs following a delay in diagnosis has settled her medical negligence claim

Posted on 25th January 2023 in Medical Negligence

Posted by

Helena Campbell

Associate & Chartered Legal Executive
Little girl who lost all four limbs following a delay in diagnosis has settled her medical negligence claim

During the same week that we announced that we are proudly part of the Meningitis Research Foundation’s legal panel, we also saw a High Court settlement after a little girl lost all four limbs due to a delay in diagnosis of meningitis.

The Court heard that this little girl was taken to the Accident and Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey, displaying “red flags for meningitis and sepsis” including a high temperature, fast heart rate, leg pain, drowsiness and vomiting. Despite these clear signs, she was discharged from hospital with paracetamol. 

By the time of her re-admission, she was critically ill, overwhelmed by sepsis and in multiorgan failure due to meningococcal septicaemia. Sadly, she had to undergo above the knee amputations of both legs and above the elbow amputations of her arms. 

The family brought a claim on behalf of the little girl, arguing that had she been admitted and given antibiotics on her first admission, she would not have been as critically ill, and she would have avoided the amputation of her limbs. 

The NHS Trust admitted liability and issued an apology to the family, agreeing that her care fell below the standard she was entitled to expect, and that she should not have been discharged. 

Judge Glyn told the girl’s family at the High Court in London: “Money cannot bring who your daughter was back but it can secure her future”, before agreeing an award of £39million. This will allow her to have access to the life-long care needs that she will now require, as well as all aids, equipment, adaptation and prosthesis she will need both now and in the future.

Not only did Judge Glyn say he would “unhesitatingly” approve the settlement, but that she should receive a lump sum now and the remainder in annual payments for the rest of her life. 

We act for many clients who have suffered a delay in diagnosis of meningitis, resulting in life-changing injuries, whether this is amputation, brain injury, sight and hearing loss, significant scarring, or death. 

The effects of meningitis are often life-changing, but of course the longer the diagnosis and treatment is delayed, the more widespread the injuries will be, as was clearly the case here.

Our specialist medical negligence team has considerable experience in handling medical negligence claims involving delays or misdiagnosis in the treatment of meningitis and septicaemia.

We also work closely alongside the Meningitis Research Foundation who provide helpline and long-term support and signposting services. Helena Campbell, an Associate with our medical negligence team, is an ambassador and be-friender for the Meningitis Research Foundation.

 

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