Successful SENDIST appeal against the lack of education therapy and the school named on the EHCP
John* is 8 years old and has severe dystonic cerebral palsy and complex communication difficulties. He communicates using eye gaze and has limited mobility. John needs assistance with all aspects of his life. He has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and at the time of our involvement he was in Year 4 at his maintained special school.
John’s parents believe that he was becoming increasingly frustrated because he was unable to communicate his needs and felt that his general progress had slowed down. They wanted him to attend a school that specialised in helping pupils with severe cerebral palsy and communication difficulties with a peer group of children with similar difficulties.
When the Local Authority (LA) refused to fund John’s placement at the parents’ chosen independent special school we helped lodge an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST). The LA argued that placement at the independent school would be an unreasonable public expenditure as John’s needs were being met at his current maintained special school. The annual difference in cost between the two placements was in excess of £50,000.
The appeal was against Section B (description of John’s special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) and Section I (the school) of the EHCP. We identified suitable independent experts and organised assessments. We were able to demonstrate that John’s physical and communication needs were not being met at his current LA maintained school and the LA had also underestimated his level of ability. We proved that the peer group at his current school was unsuitable. The school that John was attending was in fact completely unsuitable for him. The complexity of John’s needs made it difficult for his school and the LA to see that he was much more capable than originally thought. The LA subsequently reconsidered and agreed to fund the parents chosen school before the Hearing was due to take place. We negotiated Section B and F and reached agreement with the LA. The outcome was that we secured a placement at a highly sought-after specialist independent school which included transport and escort costs.
* John is not the child’s real name.
Successful SENDIST Appeal against the lack of therapy and the school named on the EHCP
Philippa* is 16 years old and has severe Autism, extremely delayed communication and processing difficulties as well as seizures. These difficulties have a severe impact on her ability to undertake tasks in and out of the classroom without significant levels of adult support. Philippa has an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and was attending a maintained mainstream secondary school.
Philippa’s parents believe that the Local Authority’s proposal of a transition to a mainstream college placement would be wholly inappropriate and potentially unsafe for a vulnerable pupil like Philippa. They wanted her to attend a school that specialised in helping pupils with Autism alongside a peer group of pupils with similar difficulties.
We helped lodge an appeal to the Special Educational Needs and Disability Tribunal (SENDIST) against the LA’s proposed college placement. The LA argued that Philippa had been attending a mainstream secondary school and would be expected to therefore move to a mainstream college. They argued that a placement at an independent school would amount to unreasonable public expenditure. The annual difference in cost between the two placements was in excess of £50,000.
The appeal was against Section B (description of special educational needs), Section F (special educational provision) and Section I (college placement). During the appeal, the LA reconsidered the college placement and offered Philippa a placement at a special school for pupils with severe learning difficulties. We were able to demonstrate that Philippa’s needs could not be met at the LA’s newly proposed special school. The LA had failed to find a placement that could meet all of Philippa’s needs and keep her safe in school. We proved that the peer group at the proposed new school and the course offered were completely unsuitable. We secured a placement at a very well-established specialist independent school for pupils with Autism along with transport costs.
Philippa and her family are delighted with this outcome.
*Not the child’s real name.
Patient awarded sizeable compensation award for DVT injury caused by negligent inguinal hernia repair surgery
Mr X a Southampton based Local Produce Specialist aged 33 was in previous good health. He needed a laparoscopic left inguinal hernia at the Southampton NHS Treatment Centre on 10 April 2015 because of what was considered to be a soft, non-tender, and easily reducible lump in the area of his groin. It was supposed to be a day procedure.
After the operation was performed, Mr X was very poorly and had to kept in overnight. He felt very pale and weak. The following day he unusually began to complain of a swollen left leg which did not subside over time. He had a lot of pain in his calf when walking. An ultrasound scan was finally performed which revealed a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
Following investigations, it was established that this was caused due to an inadvertent and negligently caused injury to his external iliac vein during surgery and the subsequent applications of one or two clips used to control the bleeding.
As a result, Mr X went on to suffer from a persistent and substantial increase in the pressure of the leg veins, resulting in chronic swelling of the left leg and a feeling of heaviness and aching made worse by exercise such as walking. His condition is permanent. He is required to wear an unsightly and uncomfortable tight elastic compression stocking every day to help prevent the risk of a further DVT injury occurring.
Mr X suffers now from permanent leg pain and a psychiatric injury which have impacted on his ability to work and travel amongst other things.
Mr X contacted Moore Blatch LLP’s clinical negligence team where Tim Spring and Mr Sarmad Gassoub investigated the case and gathered supportive expert evidence and witness statements. Court proceedings were issued, judgement entered against Care UK Ltd (the relevant organisation responsible for the treatment Mr X received), and assisted with negotiations which ultimately resulted in Mr X recovering a substantial compensation award.
Mr X said: ‘Moore Blatch were extremely helpful to me with my clinical negligence case. Sarmad Gassoub was tenacious, meticulously detailed and professional in his approach, whilst remaining friendly and approachable. The more dealings I had with Sarmad, the more trust I put in him to help guide me through a challenging case. I would recommend Sarmad to anyone that is in need of support with a clinical negligence claim’.
Train driver recovers significant compensation award for injuries caused by delayed diagnosis and treatment of Cauda Equina
Mr X a London based train driver aged 47 began to suffer from extreme shooting back pain and reduced sensation in his genital area in December 2013.
He consulted with his General Practitioner and sent for an urgent MRI scan with a referral made for him to see a Neurosurgeon at Y Hospital NHS Trust. Unfortunately for Mr X, he did not receive a hospital appointment until the beginning of February 2014, well over a month later. This was despite the fact that both Mr X and his wife chased Y Hospital NHS Trust many times for an appointment.
Mr X underwent an MRI scan at the beginning of February 2014 which showed he had a large central disc protrusion at the L5-S1 level. Despite this, Mr X was not contacted again by anybody at Y Hospital NHS Trust for another 11 days. He finally received a telephone call from an on-call Neurosurgery SpR and was asked some questions about his condition. He was told for the first time that he might have cauda equina syndrome (CES).
On 14 February 2014 Mr X was told to present to Y Hospital NHS Trust immediately for surgical admission. On 15 February 2014 he underwent a right L5/S1 miscrodiscectomy at Y Hospital NHS Trust. A large disc fragment was seen in the S1 nerve root.
Mr X suffered from permanent neuropathic leg and rectal pain, low back pain, sexual dysfunction, some bladder/bowel dysfunction, and a psychiatric injury.
Mr X contacted Moore Blatch LLP’s clinical negligence team where Mr Sarmad Gassoub investigated the case and gathered supportive expert and witness statements. Court proceedings were issued and a negotiated settlement was eventually agreed with Y Hospital NHS Trust, which resulted in Mr X recovering a substantial compensation award.
Mr X said: ‘Sarmad treated me with great sensitivity throughout the litigation process, remaining professional in his approach and steering me through the highs and lows of a very complicated case. His attention to detail and excellent explanations of tricky legal matters were second to none, resulting in a settlement which secured mine and my family’s financial future’.
£3.2 million compensation received following failure to treat primary open-angle glaucoma
The Claimant pursued a claim for damages against XXX Trust for their failure to treat primary open-angle glaucoma as a result of which the Claimant had gone blind.
The Claimant had no family history of glaucoma. She noticed that her eyesight was beginning to deteriorate at the end of 2015 and in June 2016 after an optical check-up she was referred to the ophthalmic clinic. The Claimant attended the ophthalmic clinic a month later and was diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma and was advised to attend XXX Eye Hospital for treatment. Although an urgent referral was made to the eye unit the Claimant did not receive an appointment to be seen at the eye unit for 3½ months.
Although the Claimant was prescribed eye-drops for her condition and was told that she would require frequent appointments the eye unit failed to ensure that the Claimant was seen and from 30 November 2016 up until 19 September 2017 the Claimant received no appointments in spite of the fact that she telephoned the eye unit on several occasions complaining that her eye sight was deteriorating and that her eye-drops were painful.
By the time the Claimant received an eye clinic appointment in September 2017 her intraocular pressures were extremely high. She was told that she would be reviewed in a month’s time. The Claimant was reviewed on 21 November 2017, 12 January 2018, 18 January 2018 and 31 January 2018 when no action was taken to correct her intraocular pressures and no surgery was undertaken by the eye clinic.
By the time the Claimant attended the glaucoma clinic in February 2018 the Claimant was blind.
Although the Claimant subsequently underwent laser treatment the clinicians were unable to improve her eyesight and the Claimant was registered as severely sight-impaired (blind).
The Claimant was one of 16 patients who had been treated at the same eye clinic and who had suffered significant preventable harm. A Serious Investigation Report had found that the Trust had failed to enter all patients for out-of-time appointments onto a spreadsheet and had failed to assess the individual patient’s clinical risk factor. Not only were patients not being seen when they should have been, but no-one was identifying their particular risk of deterioration in sight. The unit had also failed to adhere to their standard operating procedure. An apology was made by the Trust for their failure to treat the Claimant’s condition.
The Claimant’s claim was that had she undergone surgery by November/December 2016 some of her sight would have been saved and she would not have gone blind. The Claimant was the mother of twins who at the material time were 12 months old and she subsequently gave birth to a further child in 2017.
After a Letter of Claim was forwarded to the relevant Trust there was a full admission of breach of duty and the Trust also admitted that had the Claimant undergone surgery before the end of 2016 although she would have been sight impaired she would not have been severely sight-restricted i.e. blind.
The Trust granted interim payments to the Claimant during the course of the litigation and the claim was settled at a mediation within 15 months of instructions being received. The Claimant’s claim was for inter alia pain, injury and suffering, care costs, loss of earnings, accommodation costs, childcare, rehabilitation.
The claim settled in the sum of £3.2 million.
Neuropathic pain following neck surgery
Moore Blatch have obtained £120,000 compensation for a client who developed neuropathic neck pain following surgery to remove a benign neck lipoma at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Portsmouth in June 2013.
Mr K, then aged 53, alleged that he was not given full and proper advice about the risk of neuropathic pain being caused by surgery to his neck, where he had had a previous operation, and that the procedure was negligently performed.
Mr K’s Greater Auricular Nerve was damaged during surgery and this led to the development of neuropathic pain. He suffered from a constant burning and over-sensitive neck which also restricted his neck mobility and this in turn prevented him from continuing with his life-long career as a heavy goods vehicle driver. Mr K also developed depression as a result of his neck pain. He had been able to find alternative work, but would always be handicapped on the labour market.
The Defendant vigorously denied liability throughout the case and formal legal proceedings needed to be issued. Whilst the Defendant continued to deny liability, a compromise of the claim was agreed at a settlement meeting which took place just weeks before the trial was due to take place. Settlement was agreed at £120,000.
Paul Kingsley said:
“This was a difficult and hard-fought claim involving some subtle injuries whose impact was not always obvious. Although Mr K had been able to continue working for some time before having to look for alternative and less well paid employment, this simply led to the Defendant questioning the extent of his injuries and loss. As the Defendant denied liability throughout, I’m very pleased that we have been able to resolve the claim and provide Mr K with some degree of financial security for the future”.
Mr K said:
“When I had problems following my operation in 2013, I struggled on as best I could but eventually things proved too much and I had to look for other work. I sought help and advice and am very grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by Paul Kingsley and his team at Moore Blatch. Paul kept me informed about the progress of my claim and carefully explained what was happening every step of the way up to and including settlement. Many thanks.”
Compensation settlement received for loss of vision
The Claimant pursued a claim for damages against a Hospital Trust for their failure to treat primary open-angle glaucoma as a result of which the Claimant had gone blind.
The Claimant attended an ophthalmic clinic and was diagnosed with primary open angle glaucoma and was advised to attend an Eye Hospital for treatment. Although an urgent referral was made to the eye unit, the Claimant did not receive an appointment to be seen at the eye unit for 3½ months.
Although the Claimant was prescribed eye-drops for her condition and was told that she would require frequent appointments, the eye unit failed to ensure that the Claimant was seen and over a period of 10 months the Claimant received no appointments, in spite of the fact that she telephoned the eye unit on several occasions complaining that her eyesight was deteriorating and that her eye-drops were painful.
By the time the Claimant received an eye clinic appointment her intraocular pressures were extremely high. She was told that she would be reviewed in a month’s time. The Claimant was reviewed on four occasions over two months, when no action was taken to correct her intraocular pressures and no surgery was undertaken by the eye clinic.
By the time the Claimant attended the glaucoma clinic in February 2018 the Claimant was blind.
Although the Claimant subsequently underwent laser treatment, the clinicians were unable to improve her eyesight and the Claimant was registered as severely sight-impaired (blind).
After a Letter of Claim was forwarded to the relevant Trust there was a full admission of breach of duty and the Trust also admitted that had the Claimant undergone timely surgery, she would have been sight impaired, but she would not have been severely sight-restricted, i.e. blind.
The Trust granted interim payments to the Claimant during the course of the litigation and the claim was settled within 15 months of instructions being received. The Claimant’s claim was for inter alia pain, injury and suffering, care costs, loss of earnings, accommodation costs, childcare and rehabilitation.
The claim settled for a seven figure sum.
Compensation received for avoidable loss of vision
Mrs X pursued a claim for damages against a hospital Trust for their failures in ensuring her illness was appropriately and timely investigated and treated as a result of which she suffered complications which left her completely blind.
Having been admitted to hospital with a history of a long-standing illness, weight loss and blood abnormalities, doctors failed to diagnose that she was suffering from a chronic inflammatory condition which required further investigation and should have led to her diagnosis and treatment of Giant Cell Arteritis (GCA). As a result, she was discharged without appropriate and timely follow-up being arranged and four weeks later suffered complications with her vision. Despite admission to hospital and appropriate treatment, it was too late to save her sight and she was left blind in both eyes. This was a devastating and avoidable outcome for Mrs X, and she received a six-figure settlement for the poor medical care she received.
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.”