Negligent mistakes are sometimes made in busy hospital accident and emergency departments and, where injuries result, doctors would agree that fair compensation should be paid. In a case on point, lawyers representing a girl who had both legs amputated after twice being sent home from A&E when suffering from a dangerous infection negotiated a multi-million-pound settlement of her claim.
The girl was nine months old when she developed feverish symptoms. Her parents initially consulted a GP before twice taking her to A&E. Although she was suffering from a grave streptococcal infection, she was not admitted on either occasion. By the time she was appropriately diagnosed and treated, her condition had developed into septicaemia and it was too late to save her from the double amputation.
The NHS trust that ran the hospital admitted liability for her injuries at an early stage, but the girl’s lawyers had to engage in difficult and protracted negotiations before final settlement terms were agreed. The trust agreed to pay a £4.7 million lump sum plus annual, index-linked and tax-free payments to cover the costs of her care for life. The overall capitalised value of the settlement was £9 million.