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  • Overview

    Patricia Fearnley, specialist clinical negligence lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) Offices, has secured £600,000 for a man who suffered a negligent delay in diagnosing a meningioma (a benign brain tumour) which left him incapacitated by headaches, hormonal problems, extreme lethargy and depression.

    This clinical negligence claim involved a man who suffered a delay in diagnosing a brain tumour due to the negligent failure on the part of clinicians at Kings College Hospital, London, to adequately investigate his symptoms following his referral there by Pembury Hospital, Tunbridge Wells.

    The claimant had attended his local optician for a routine eye test. It was noted that he had developed diplopia (double vision) and headaches. He was referred to his GP who in turn referred him to A&E at the Kent and Sussex Hospital.

    He underwent an MRI scan at Pembury Hospital. Following this he was firstly referred to a neurologist and then to a consultant neuro-radiologist at Kings College Hospital. A note was made at the time that there were concerns about the reliability of the Pembury MRI scanner. However his consultant at Kings College Hospital wrote to a neurologist at the Kent and Sussex Hospital advising that the MRI scan did not show any significant abnormality and no further imaging was required.

    The claimant’s condition continued to deteriorate and, frustrated at the lack of treatment, he changed his GP and his new GP referred him to Moorfields Eye Hospital, London, where he underwent various investigations and eventually had a repeat MRI scan carried out at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. The MRI scan identified a type of tumour known as a meningioma. The claimant was informed that this was a benign tumour which was inoperable and he was referred for radiotherapy.

    A course of radiotherapy halted the growth of the tumour but the claimant remained incapacitated by headaches, hormonal problems (hypopituitarism), extreme lethargy and depression.

    In this clinical negligence case Patricia Fearnley acted on behalf of the claimant and claimed that had the consultant at Kings College Hospital asked for a review of the scan by a neuro-radiologist then the tumour would have been correctly diagnosed, it would have been smaller and it would have been treated by a special type of focused radiotherapy, gamma knife, which would have avoided damage to adjacent structures in the brain. The claimant would have avoided the consequences of more generalised radiotherapy to the brain and been able to continue working.

    Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust had initially stated that they could not find the original MRI scan but this was finally produced some years after it was first requested. A report was obtained from a neurologist with a special interest in neuro-ophthalmology and it was his opinion that the meningioma had been present when the claimant had first had an MRI scan performed, six years before the tumour was eventually diagnosed.

    The Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust admitted that there was a delay in diagnosis of the tumour but denied the extent of damage caused by the delay.

    Due to the claimant’s deteriorating health, his business which had been doing well and which he had been intending to expand, ran into decline. In addition to medical reports, accountancy evidence was obtained regarding his losses and this led to an overall out-of-court settlement of £600,000.

    Patricia Fearnley has significant experience in claims of delayed diagnosis. If you would like to ask Patricia a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence case, contact Patricia on 01892 701319 in confidence.

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