Woman succeeds in claim for unexpected death of her husband from sepsis
This case concerned the tragic and unexpected death of the Claimant’s husband, Mr M, who had presented to the emergency department with a high temperature and tachycardia. Although there was a differential diagnosis of sepsis, the illness was initially thought to be viral and a plan was made to administer steroids, as Mr M had an underlying autoimmune condition and there was no obvious source of sepsis. This plan was endorsed when he was transferred to the ward. Later that evening he had an episode of diarrhoea and a urine dipstick test was also positive for possible infection.
Despite this and further diarrhoea, and general deterioration in his condition overnight, no referral for additional medical review was made.
At consultant review the following morning, antibiotics were prescribed but, unfortunately, due to communication issues, there was a further three hour delay in administering these. Ten minutes after the first dose, Mr M suffered a cardiac arrest as a result of sepsis and died.
Group A Streptococcus was identified in his blood culture.
An investigation into Mr M’s death concluded that there had been a failure to recognise the deterioration and a failure to follow the sepsis screening tool. The diarrhoea, positive urine dipstick and deterioration in his condition should have been recognised as signs of infection which should have prompted administration of intravenous antibiotics, which would have saved Mr M’s life. The case settled for a six-figure sum.
Denise Deakin was instructed in this matter. She said “It is extremely sad that, but for relatively simple and timely treatment, Mr M would have still been alive.”
Lady receives £1 million compensation following mismanagement of Herpes Simplex Encephalitis (HSE)
Our client, JN, was 52 years old when she presented to hospital with headache, vomiting, generalised abdominal pain and diarrhoea. Members of her family remember that she was also confused and that this was reported to the clinical staff. JN’s condition deteriorated and two days later a suspected diagnosis of HSE was reached. Treatment with acyclovir was commenced a day later.
Two months later our client was discharged to a rehabilitation centre for neurorehabilitation and, following this, she was discharged home to her family. She has continued to suffer with concentration and memory impairment, fatigue, personality change and irritability. She had been a demonstrator for professional goods and had been looking after her grandchildren but is now dependent on care and support provided by her family.
Solicitors were instructed and following review by independent medical experts, the Claimant’s case was that HSE should have been suspected on admission to hospital and treatment with acyclovir started the same day. This would have resulted in JN making a good recovery in a shorter time period and with only minor persisting cognitive problems.
Proceedings were issued and served. It was admitted that JN was suffering from HSE and that an insufficient dose of acyclovir was given when it was commenced. Everything else remained in dispute and a limitation defence was pleaded.
Shortly after the Defence was received solicitors instructed for the Trust made an offer to settle the claim for £1,000,000 as well as the family’s legal costs.
The claim was conducted by Moore Blatch solicitors: Mr
Tim Spring and
Dr Mala Sidebottom. Nigel Spencer Ley, of Farrar’s Building, was instructed. The compensation includes awards for loss of earnings, care provided by the family and deputyship.
JN’s Litigation friend said:
“Tim Spring explained everything in non-legal terms and made us, particularly my mum, feel comfortable. He, Nigel and Mala have been great and gave very clear advice about, and during, the process. Mum is very pleased with the outcome.”
Mala Sidebottom said:
“Although the family have had to wait a long time to secure compensation for JN it was helpful that an offer to settle was made relatively early on in the proceedings. I hope that this compensation will allow our client to obtain the care and support that she needs.”
Court approves settlement for child born with developmental dysplasia of the hips
NG was discovered to be in a breech presentation in utero and her mother underwent a successful external cephalic version to turn her, at 37 weeks gestation. NG was born on 13 September 2007 and her hips were stated to be normal at a newborn examination. She did not undergo any follow up tests at the hospital, such as an ultrasound scan of her hips, despite being in the high risk group for developmental dysplasia of the hips due to her breech presentation. There was an 8-month check up with the health visitor and nothing was picked up, although she had a more prominent crease on her right hip.
NG’s parents later reported to her GP that she was waddling when she walked and an ultrasound scan was requested. This led to a diagnosis of bilateral developmental dysplasia of the hip, at 26 months of age.
Expert evidence confirmed that NG ought to have undergone an ultrasound scan of her hips in the first few weeks after her birth and that this would have shown hip instability and/or dislocation. It is likely that non-surgical treatment would have been successful and NG would have developed normal hips without any long-term concern. If NG’s condition had been picked up after her 8-month check, treatment at that stage would have led to normal development of her hips without any long-term concern.
Following her diagnosis NG underwent bilateral open reduction and femoral osteotomies. She required a further femoral osteotomy in her right hip in January 2013 and had two further operations to remove metalwork.
An expert in orthopaedic surgery advised that NG would require a repeat osteotomy by the age of 14 and that she would develop osteoarthritis at a younger age than usual, requiring hip replacements and hip revisions sooner than she would have needed, if she had had normal hip development. It was also considered that she should avoid a career relying on long periods of standing or walking, climbing or high impact activity involving her lower limbs.
Liability was admitted in the Letter of Response in relation to failure to carry out a 6-week ultrasound scan, and an offer was made by the Defendant Trust to settle the claim, in June 2015. This was rejected and NG’s claim was quantified. A round table meeting took place in June 2018 and the case settled for a figure in excess of £300,000. In the approval hearing, in December 2018, anonymity was granted.
Dr Mala Sidebottom, who was instructed in the case said, ‘I am delighted that NG has settled her case for a sum that should enable her to access any care and treatment that she needs and to fully move on with her life.’
How Moore Blatch successfully argued that our client, who was not married, was entitled to an equal share of the £1m family home
Midwife wins court battle with her tech boss ex-partner over their £1million home after telling judge he promised her an equal share over a drink in the PUB 13 years ago.
Claire Chipperfield, 52, only paid £39,000 towards her £1million home. Her wealthy tech boss ex-boyfriend Andrew Horn, 58, paid £740,000.
But when they split in 2016 he tried to sue her for claiming an equal share. She has won her legal battle after claims he told her they were equal in the pub.
Background to the case
My client is a Midwife and her long standing partner held a number of senior management roles. They had two boys and had lived together for 17 years but were never married and therefore had none of the rights that a marriage confers.
In 2006 they purchased their family home in joint names as joint tenants with the majority, but not all, of the funds coming from Mr Horn.
On separation my client’s former partner brought a legal case arguing that my client was not entitled to any money from the property as it should never have been registered as joint tenants . He further argued that as he put most of the money into financing the property he should not have to give my client her 50% share. Mr Horn also alleged during the case that my client fraudulently gave instructions to the solicitors on purchase, and later that the solicitors had made a mistake when registering the property with the land registry. He claimed that they had a common intention to hold the property as tenants in common.
The heart of the dispute was whether the parties intended to purchase the house as ‘joint tenants’ meaning they had equal ownership or as ‘tenants in common’ with a unequal share. Moore Blatch argued that it was correctly and intentionally registered as joint tenants at the time of purchase.
Why the case was successful
My client’s partner effectively tried to re-write history post separation. He was helped to a certain extent by the original conveyancing file having been destroyed. The Land Registry could only tell us that they received instructions to register as joint tenants but both parties said that they did not give those instructions. So who did? The Judge said that the claimant Mr Horn did.
Our client was a compelling witness during the case and the judge preferred her evidence that they had throughout their relationship always lived as a committed couple and nuclear family. They were engaged.
My client’s partner had always dealt with correspondence and the finances. However, my client had done all that she could to keep the family afloat during the many periods of her partner’s unemployment and this had included contributing to the household finances by cashing in savings, taking out and repaying loans and providing some of the deposit monies for the home.
One of the key evidential points was that on the day they purchased the property they went for dinner where my client’s partner said ‘well that’s it Chip, we are now 50/50 and on the debt as well”. However, in the case this was denied by my client’s partner who tried to say that he didn’t mean this literally.
The judge said that my client’s partner had a ‘somewhat callous and off-hand attitude to my client’s contributions’ and said that he had a ‘markedly and surprisingly cold manner towards her career sacrifices’. We have subsequently and successfully defended two appeal attempts and won our client her legal costs on top.
So, what does this mean for future cases?
Most importantly this case highlights the different treatment of married and unmarried couples.
The law in this area is particularly fact sensitive and therefore recalling the specifics that took place at the time is imperative.
But, this case clearly demonstrates that sacrifices made by one party can inform the judge as to the likely intentions of the parties.
The judge said that my client’s partner had a ‘somewhat callous and off-hand attitude to my client’s contributions’ and said that he had a ‘markedly and surprisingly cold manner towards her career sacrifices’.
Finally, our legal arguments focused on the fact that a partner cannot simply focus on of the figures and ignore the reality by re-writing history. Ultimately this was our client’s partners downfall as the facts simply did not support an unequal ownership.
18 year old girl settles claim for failings by health visitor
FN, now 18, had right sided hearing loss which was missed in her 8-month hearing check. The health visitor performed an infant distraction hearing test without assistance from a second health visitor and FN’s parents recall that, although FN did not respond properly to the test on one side the test was not repeated and no follow up appointment was suggested.
Moore Blatch structures a successful MBO for premium quality UPVC decking and fencing supplier
“When embarking on a management buy-out it is important you try before you buy” – a wise piece of our advice from our client at Vinyl Solutions.
Moore Blatch gets justice for a minority shareholder
When a minority shareholder invests their life savings and a majority shareholder abuses his power, the consequences can be devastating.
£23m compensation awarded to 12-year-old
A 12-year-old girl, who was left with brain injuries – after her delivery was negligently managed at Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading, in 2005 – has been awarded one of the largest ever clinical negligence settlements.
Settlement achieved for a man left with debilitating bladder and bowel dysfunction following spinal injury
Dr Mala Sidebottom has secured compensation for a 52 year old man who underwent spinal surgery in 2004, resulting in sexual dysfunction and bowel and bladder disturbance.