One of our specialist solicitors, Miriam Bi achieved an out of court settlement of £92,500 for a 38-year-old lady who suffered a delayed diagnosis of appendicitis whilst pregnant and subsequently lost her unborn child.
She was 16 weeks pregnant when she was admitted to the defendant trust hospital on 2 December 2015 complaining of abdominal pain, feeling unwell with diarrhoea and vomiting. There was no record of a working diagnosis, but she was admitted for IV fluids. Despite ongoing complaints of abdominal pain, she was discharged on 6 December 2015. She continued to suffer with pain at home and was unable to eat or drink anything without vomiting. On 8 December, she was readmitted with vomiting. The working diagnosis was one of hyperemesis and dehydration. She was admitted for IV fluids. On 9 December blood tests were arranged, and a surgical opinion was sought. She was seen by a Registrar and he noted that the pain increased in severity on coughing. An ultrasound scan showed fluid collection down the left side. An MRI scan was recommended however, this was unable to determine the cause of the collection. On 12 December, during a diagnostic laparoscopy, a ruptured appendix was noted. A drain was inserted to drain the fluid/collection, and she remained in hospital. Her condition continued to deteriorate. On 22 December, intrauterine death was confirmed.
Her condition deteriorated further and she was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit prior to the induction of labour. A CT scan showed a collection of infected fluid which was drained under ultrasound guidance. She was taken to theatre on 23 December for a laparotomy and the baby was also delivered at the same time. She remained ventilated until 29 December. She was also treated for sepsis. She had to undergo at least two washout procedures in order to flush out the infection. She was not discharged from Hospital until 21 January 2016 after a period of being in an induced coma.
A Serious Incident Investigation Report acknowledged various failures.
The Trust admitted that appendicitis should have been considered as a differential diagnosis sooner and that this would, on the balance of probabilities, led to earlier diagnosis and treatment. She would have avoided the prolonged discomfort, level of septic complications, prolonged admission and the intrauterine death. She further suffered an adjustment disorder characterised by post-traumatic intrusion and anxiety symptoms.