Clinical Negligence

Failure to diagnose discitis leads to death of husband

Jenny Waight, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out-of court settlement of £80,000 for the widow of the deceased who died following a failure to diagnose and treat discitis and suffered multiple pressure sores.

The deceased, aged 61, was admitted to Medway Maritime Hospital with reduced mobility and oedema.  He was found to have acute kidney injury on the background of his chronic kidney disease.  He was to have renal replacement therapy and underwent emergency surgery to insert a temporary dialysis line.

Two days later he was transferred to Kent and Canterbury Hospital.  He remained in hospital and was unwell with diarrhoea and vomiting.  Two weeks later, it was confirmed that staph aureus had been grown from the line tip and blood cultures.  The deceased was treated with antibiotics.

The deceased complained of severe back pain but no examination took place.  He was discharged but readmitted several weeks later when his legs gave way at home.  An MRI scan revealed T7/8 discitis, being the cause of his severe back pain.
The infection remained and he was treated with IV antibiotics.  It was found that the source of the infection was the dialysis line.

The deceased remained in Kent and Canterbury Hospital but deteriorated over the next few months and palliative care was initiated.  He passed away and his death was referred to the Coroner.

A post mortem was carried out.  Multiple pressure sores were found and the likely cause of death was noted to be sepsis.

Thomson Snell & Passmore represented the widow and her family at the Inquest which took place over 4 days.  The Coroner concluded that there were numerous missed opportunities to diagnose the discitis, which had developed as a result of the dialysis line infection.  Further opportunities were missed to treat the deceased with correct antibiotics.  The failure to diagnosis discitis led to immobility and exacerbation of the sacral pressure sores.

The claim was settled on behalf of the widow, as executrix of the estate and on behalf of the dependents of the deceased for £80,000.

Jenny Waight specialises in fatal accident and Inquest cases.  If you would like to ask Jenny a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jenny Waight at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

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