Clinical Negligence

Patient suffers severe anoxic brain injury due to bronchoscopy

Specialist Clinical Negligence lawyers based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) offices, has secured £400,000 plus annual payments for a claimant who suffered a severe anoxic brain injury after going into cardiac arrest whilst undergoing a bronchoscopy.The claimant in this claim was a 68 year old female. She had been at the defendant’s hospital for a bronchoscopy.

The claimant had a pre-assessment. She had been given a leaflet “Having a Bronchoscopy, a Guide to the Test”, which set out the procedure. This document did not set out any particularly serious risks of the procedure.

During the procedure, the claimant became agitated and was clearly having difficulty breathing. The procedure was halted and the bronchoscope was withdrawn. At this point, the claimant went into respiratory arrest, leading to cardiac arrest.

As a result of the arrest, resuscitation was commenced. It was noted by the attending Consultant Anaesthetist on his arrival that the wall oxygen tubing had not been properly connected and this resulted in inadequate ventilation and oxygenation at a critical time following the claimant’s cardio-respiratory arrest. Sadly this resulted in a severe anoxic brain injury and she is in a low awareness state, and is likely to remain so. The claimant is totally dependent on others and requires round the clock care for the rest of her life.

In this case the team were instructed by the claimant’s husband on her behalf and advanced the arguments that the claimant was not given an adequate consent process and that they had failed to consider or appreciate the particular risks posed by a bronchoscopy to a patient who was asthmatic. It was also argued that the resuscitation had been substandard. After court proceedings were served the defendant NHS Trust admitted liability for the brain injury.

In order to value the claim expert reports were sought from neurologists, neurorehabilitation experts and physiotherapists, among others. These reports assisted in an overall settlement of £400,000 plus annual payments together with an indemnity which will protect the claimant’s residential care fees for the rest of her life. The settlement was approved by the court.

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