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  • Overview

    Jonathan Herbert, specialist clinical negligence lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) offices, has secured a six-figure sum for a lady after a delay in diagnosing undifferentiated connective tissue disorder and interstitial pneumonia led to a serious avoidable deterioration in her health.

    The claimant in this clinical negligence claim was a 57 year old lady who had been working as an Associate Director for Acute Commissioning for an NHS Primary Care Trust.  

    The claimant attended her GP, having suffered from a chesty cough for two-months.  She was diagnosed with a lower respiratory tract infection and given antibiotics.  

    She returned to her GP around a week later with her cough on-going and scaly skin.  Three weeks later she reported shortness of breath on exertion and swelling in both wrists.  

    Around a week later her GP referred her to hospital with suspected viral pneumonia.  A chest x-ray showed a worsening appearance from those obtained previously at the request of her GP.  It was noted that she had “progressive infiltrate/alveolitis (symptoms associated with pneumonia) and associated symmetrical arthritis with no features of overt bacterial pneumonia.”

    There was disagreement over what was discussed before the claimant was discharged.  The claimant says admission on that Friday was offered, but on the basis she would not be seen by a doctor the following week, she elected to go home having been reassured that an urgent appointment was going to be made.  She was discharged home with antibiotics.

    The referral for an urgent appointment was lost and not actioned, despite many chasing telephone calls by the claimant and her GP.   In the meantime, her condition deteriorated.  

    The claimant was eventually seen by a respiratory doctor three weeks later and she was admitted from the clinic to hospital as she was noted to be hypoxic (suffering from a lack of oxygen supply).  She was started on oxygen therapy immediately, as well as on intravenous methylprednisolone (a steroid to assist her breathing).  She was reviewed by rheumatology and a diagnosis of undifferentiated connective tissue disease (an autoimmune disease where the immune system attacks specific parts of the body) with interstitial pneumonia was finally made.

    The claimant suffered a prolonged physical recovery and chronic adjustment disorder with mixed depression and anxiety.

    Jonathan was able to negotiate an out-of-court settlement to compensate her for her pain and suffering, care and assistance, loss of earnings, medical treatment and other expenses.

    Jonathan Herbert specialises in autoimmune and delay diagnosis cases.  If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact Jonathan at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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