James Cahan, specialist clinical negligence lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) Offices, has secured over £70,000 for the widow of a man who died after he contracted meningitis following surgery to remove a brain tumour.
This tragic clinical negligence claim involved the negligent treatment of a 61 year old man who was diagnosed with ependyoma, a rare form of brain tumour.
The deceased underwent a craniotomy with tumour excision surgery at Kings College Hospital, which is where the negligence occurred. At Kings College Hospital they were able to remove 95% of the tumour. The deceased was given peri-operative antibiotics.
Shortly after the operation the deceased suffered from pulmonary oedema and his saturations fell and he required intubation and intensive care support. However two days after his surgery he was planned to be discharged to the ward and was showing encouraging signs of recovery.
However, 4 days after his surgery the deceased began to complain of photophobia (sensitivity to light), neck stiffness and a worsening headache. These were all signs consistent with developing meningitis.
5 days after his surgery the deceased developed signs of infection including pyrexia (high temperature) and confusion. Meningitis A was suspected and antibiotics (Tazocin) were commenced, replaced later that day by Meropenem. Vancomycin was also prescribed 6 days after his surgery.
12 days after his surgery the antibiotics were discontinued on the advice of the microbiologists.
Serous fluids began to discharge from the deceased’s surgical wound on his head which tested positive for citrobacter koseri. The following day he was restarted on antibiotics (flucloxacillin and gentamycin) but these were discontinued 3 days later. Another antibiotic (Meropenem) was started 3 days later and Vancomycin was also prescribed 5 days after that.
Across this period, and into July, the deceased remained pyrexial (high temperature) and his Glasgow coma score (level of consciousness) fluctuated. Further treatment proved ineffective and the deceased deteriorated.
42 days after his surgery, the deceased’s pupils were non-reactive and his Glasgow coma score was 3. He died later that day.
In this clinical negligence case James Cahan acted on behalf of the deceased’s widow and claimed that the deceased had died as a result of the meningitis, contracted during or following the surgery to remove the brain tumour, and crucially that the antibiotics to treat the meningitis were stopped prematurely, meaning the infection was therefore under-treated and it was allowed to take hold once again.
In this case it was proven that the death certificate that was issued by the hospital was incorrect. We are now in the process of having the death certificate amended so that it reflects the reality of the causes of death shown by the medical experts and in the subsequent post mortem.
The widow in this tragic case lost her husband as a result of the negligence of Kings College Hospital and no monetary compensation will ever suffice in this type of claim. However, it is understood that this case has led to new policies being implemented at Kings College Hospital both in terms of the nursing care which was also criticised but also in relation to the treatment and management of patients in intensive care.
This clinical negligence claim resulted in an out of court settlement of £70,000.
James Cahan has significant experience in surgical negligence claims. If you would like to ask James a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact James on 01892 701289 in confidence.