David Smiths Meningitis Story
Medical Solicitors represented David and achieved a very large six-figure compensation sum for his life-changing injuries after preventable meningitis.
David suffered an accident when he was a child that led to the removal of his spleen. After spleen removal, David should have received lifetime antibiotic cover and regular vaccinations to protect him from his increased risks of picking up serious infective illnesses. However, this was missed. The claim was against various of his past GPs who had failed to pick up on the necessity to offer the antibiotics and regular vaccination program.
The GP practice should have recognised removal of the spleen as a medical alert. All GPs in the UK moved to electronic note-keeping through the 2000s. There was a duty to pick up on and properly code any significant health issues in every patient’s notes. The final lost opportunity to do so was when his medical records were transferred from paper to a computerised system, around 2004.
David was just was 37 years old when he suffered permanent brain injury and mobility problems, after contracting meningitis. His illness became life-threatening just one month after attendance at a family wedding. David’s relatives remain convinced that he was probably exposed to the infective process at the wedding. David spent many months in hospital, but he had been a strong man, well used to manual work and he fought through. He did not lose any limbs, but he was left with permanent memory problems, physical weaknesses and unable to work. He had previously been in a position of responsibility, having worked his way up, over his entire career at one factory to the level of general manager on the manufacturing floor.
Medico-legal opinion established that a proper program of antibiotics and vaccination would probably have prevented David from succumbing to the pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia.
David is now one of the ‘walking wounded’. This is a condition where, to all extents and purposes, David looks to be unimpaired. His disabilities are subtle, but life changing, and Medical Solicitors needed to explore complicated medical issues in his case to achieve the best settlement possible.
There were delicate issues of mental capacity. David was capable of making decisions, but he didn’t trust himself with money. Although a neuro-psychologist deemed him as having mental capacity, and therefore, able to manage his own finances, Medical Solicitors instructed a Neuro-Rehabilitative Consultant, who gave the polar opposite view.
A fully furnished bungalow was purchased for David and the remains of his compensation is managed by a Professional Deputy to provide for David’s future. David has a good working relationship with his Deputy who reins David in when he needs it on his capacity for spending! He is financially secure for life and has shown his determination to beat medical opinion and the odds, since settlement of his case, by getting back to part-time work, helping out at a local supermarket. He also greatly enjoys daily walks with his dog, despite his mobility issues. It just goes to show that medical opinion, although often helpful, is certainly not always gospel. A patient’s own attitude and drive can help them to overcome what may seem like insurmountable odds.