Dominic Fairclough, partner in the clinical negligence & personal injury team, successfully secured an award for the family of Lanzett Samuels, in a clinical negligence claim against his GP. Lanzett Samuels died after having a wart removed at the Whittington Hospital, prior to a planned holiday to Jamaica. The claim arose from a failure to refer Lanzett back to the Whittington Hospital, after attending as an emergency at the surgery in April 2008. 

It transpired that Lanzett had contracted necrotising fasciitis, a rare and very aggressive infection, often described as a "skin eating infection" due to its devastating impact. The day after attending the GP surgery, Lanzett's family took him back to the Whittington Hospital, as his condition had deteriorated considerably. He was then diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis and underwent a skin debridement and blood transfusion. Sadly, after a turbulent course in the Whittington Hospital and then the Royal Free Hospital, Lanzett subsequently died in October 2008.

Dominic Fairclough represented the family at the subsequent inquest, thereafter, pursuing a clinical negligence case against the GP.  Liability was never conceded, albeit the parties' experts agreed that if Lanzett Samuels had been referred back to the Whittington Hospital by the GP, he would have survived.  Tragically, by the time he attended the Whittington Hospital, the following day, the experts agreed he was no longer likely to survive.

Lloyd Samuels, the son and administrator of the estate of Lanzett Samuels commented,

"We hold life so precious and sincere, and place our life in the hands of these professional individuals. But when you are faced with a 'brick wall 'of silence and denial, your trust, integrity and faith in the NHS and GP are highly questionable.

By reporting and highlighting the pain and suffering, that our family and my mum had to endure owing to the inexcusable and costly apathy of this doctor, and the lack of dignity when you are over 70 from several NHS hospitals that seem to 'write you off' because of your age; we hope to prevent any family having to suffer, the pain of losing a loved one from a minor operation.

The dedication and professionalism shown by Daniel and Dominic at Russell-Cooke Solicitors, allowed our family to overcome this painful five year search for truth and justice for our beloved father and brother Lanzett Samuels."

With a trial due to commence in June 2014, a negotiated settlement was achieved for the family.  

Daniel O'Keeffe commented: "This was an extremely tragic case.  Despite the fact Lanzett had the misfortune to contract a rare and very dangerous infection, if the GP had taken a proper history and had given a proper examination, she would have referred him back to the Whittington Hospital and he could have made a full recovery. Sadly the next day it was too late."

He added: "The fact we represented the family at the inquest contributed very significantly to the outcome. As Dominic Fairclough was able to question the GP, this gave insight into the critical consultation. Sadly inquests are too often a missed opportunity to understand the cause of death, when families have no legal representation at the inquest. Having a solicitor there to ask the right questions can make all the difference."

For further information please visit our clinical negligence & personal injury pages.