£21k Settlement for Delay in Diagnosis | Inflammatory Bowel Disease

£21k Settlement for Delay in Diagnosis | Inflammatory Bowel Disease
LLB (Hons) Nimish Patel
Case by: LLB (Hons) Nimish Patel Updated:

Background of the Delay in Diagnosis Claim

On 17 September 2015, our client, aged 16, attended the medical centre with abdominal pain. However, it was not until further investigations were carried out 5 years later in 2020 that he received a diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, our client was left scared and confused by his constant stomach issues. He felt he had no support from his GPs and that his condition was being dismissed or taken seriously. AWH’s experts claim that if our client had been referred properly and there not been a delay in diagnosis, he would have been diagnosed by March 2016.

Timeline of Events

17 September 2015

Our client, aged 16, attends the medical centre with abdominal pain and enlarged tonsils. Provisional diagnosis of irritable bowel syndrome is made, and a faecal calprotectin test is ordered.

20 September 2015

Results of faecal calprotectin test show raised levels, suggestive of inflammatory bowel disease. However, there is no immediate acknowledgment by the Defendants.

23 October 2015

Our client sees Dr. Kate Outters. Provisional diagnosis of dyspepsia is made, dismissing irritable bowel syndrome despite raised calprotectin. A stool chart is advised for a month.

9 December 2015

Our client sees Dr. Amanda Stafford. The hospital incorrectly records normal faecal calprotectin initially but later queries the significance. Blood tests are arranged, with normal results except for slightly low haemoglobin levels. The doctor’s plan includes trial medication, referral meeting, and review in 2-3 weeks.

22 December 2015

Dr. Amir Khan suggests a potential diagnoses of inflammatory bowel disease or gastroenteritis. Therefore, the hospital plans to observe for two more weeks, but a face-to-face examination does not take place.

2015-2017

Our client experiences frequent abdominal pains and diarrhoea, affecting his academic performance. As a result, he is unable to pursue A levels due to poor health.

20 July 2017

Our client is seen by Dr. Dipesh Damji, where he is diagnosed with a haemorrhoid. He is given topical cream, and there is no further review.

2019

In 2019 our client attends A&E with bloody diarrhoea. A provisional diagnosis of inflammatory bowel disease is made. Later on the 14 November 2019, he attends a gastroenterology clinic with a history of bloody diarrhoea. A colonoscopy on 28 November shows severe colitis and biopsies confirm active chronic colitis. Consequently, treatment is initiated with 5-ASA preparations.

December 2019

Our client is officially diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. Plans for steroids are declined by the client and he continues 5-ASA medication.

August 2020

An MR scan shows active distal to terminal ileal Crohn’s disease in addition to known colitis.

October 2020

Multidisciplinary meeting recommends a ‘top-down approach,’ and adalumimab is recommended. Our client starts injection treatment in January 2021 with escalated frequency and increased dose.

June-September 2021

Our client switched to ustekunimab with marked improvement in his faecal calprotectin level.

November 2021

Flexible sigmoidoscopy reveals continuous colitis in the sigmoid and rectum. Biopsies confirm active chronic colitis.

October 2021

Biologic agent is switched to vedolizumab.

January 2022

Our client attends A&E with six bloody motions daily.

August 2022

Gastroenterology clinic records client being 50% better with two daily motions, some blood, increased weight (61.8 kg), and concerns about abdominal bloating and discomfort. A further MR scan is not immediately planned.

Allegations of Breach of Duty

Our client contacted AWH Solicitors to make a claim because of the treatment that he received from being a 16-year-old in 2015 and the initial failures of the four GPs in the practice to refer him for additional investigations after a blood test showed that there were signs of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

The practitioners involved in the client’s care between 2015 and 2017 are accused of multiple failures. These include the failure to diagnose inflammatory bowel disease during that period and the subsequent years.

They neglected to refer the client to a gastroenterologist, provide appropriate treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, and maintain standards expected of reasonably competent general practitioners.

Additionally, during the consultation on 9 December 2015, they overlooked the chronic nature of the client’s abdominal pains and failed to recognise the indicative history of a chronic condition. The failure to identify inflammatory bowel disease despite a significantly elevated faecal calprotectin result, the lack of a repeat test, and the absence of referrals to a gastroenterologist are also highlighted.

Vicarious liability is attributed to Dr. Kate Outters and Dr. Dipesh Damji for similar failures in their respective consultations.

Furthermore, on 20 July 2017, the practitioners neglected to consider the client’s history, including the elevated faecal calprotectin and low serum ferritin, and overlooked the previous query of inflammatory bowel disease in 2015. The misdiagnosis of haemorrhoids, failure to repeat the faecal calprotectin test, and the absence of a gastroenterologist referral are additional allegations against the practitioners.

Delay in Diagnosis Resulting in Lasting Impact on Our Client

Due to our client’s poor health, he became increasingly self-conscious and reclusive. As a result, he lost important friendships as his friends moved away and he felt unable to complete an apprentice course that he had started.

Client Receives Settlement of £21k for Delay in Diagnosis Claim

The Defendants accepts a delay in our client’s referral and treatment, causing him psychological trauma due to not being aware of his true condition and how to properly manage. AWH Solicitors also sent out a claim on the basis that he had a lost opportunity in completing the apprenticeship course and this set him back in his potential career by four years, accepting the fact that his course may have been affected by his symptoms and condition in any event.

With the expert guidance of AWH’s medical negligence senior associate, Nimish Patel, our client received a settlement of £21,000. The settlement covers general damages for pain, suffering and loss of amenity. Additionally, the settlement covers interest on general damages and financial loss.

“Couldn’t Have Asked for a Better Solicitor”

“I decided to use AWH Solicitors for a medical negligence claim, and I couldn’t have asked for a better solicitor to help with my claim. Nimish Patel was extremely knowledgeable, professional, friendly, and advised me effectively to help secure me a compensation beyond what was expected. He constantly went above and beyond to make sure that I was well educated on any movement during the ongoing case, as well as guiding me with any problems that I faced.” – Review on Trust Pilot from our client (January 2024)

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