Summary of background

On 18th October 2005 the claimant was admitted to a liver clinic of the defendant trust, to be assessed for a liver transplant after it was found that she had suffered a significant deterioration in renal function. The claimant underwent a CT scan with intravenous contrast medium and was then administered with the antibiotics Vancomycin and Gentamycin to provide her with antibiotic cover whilst she underwent a gastroscopy. The claimant's condition later deteriorated. And she suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting causing dehydration, deteriorating renal function and high blood potassium levels. The claimant was admitted to an intensive therapy unit where she suffered multiple organ failure. Her condition was stabilised and she was discharged on to a ward but continued to require regular dialysis for acute renal failure. However, over the following weeks her condition continued to deteriorate and medical staff decided not to escalate her treatment. The claimant later died of multiple organ failure.

Claimant's case

The executor of the claimant's estate brought an action against the defendant alleging that it was negligent in (i) failing to pay due care and attention to the fact that the claimant's renal function was seriously impaired; (ii) failing to provide treatment suitable for the claimant's condition, particularly as staff administered an intravenous CT contrast which carried significant risk for patients with renal impairment, administered the nephratoxic antibiotics Vancomycin and Gentamycin which were known to be high-risk treatment when given to individuals suffering from renal failure, did not take precautionary steps such as fluid loading and using diuretics and completing fluid-balance records to counter any further deterioration in her renal function and did not provide aggressive treatment after the scan was carried out. C alleged that the delay in providing treatment caused the claimant's condition to deteriorate permanently and that if the failures had not occurred, her condition would not have deteriorated and instead her life would have been prolonged.

Defendant's case

It was accepted by the Defendant that the administration of the intravenous CT contrast was substandard care but it was denied that the negligent treatment directly caused the death of the deceased.

Settlement

The claim was settled out of court in the sum of £30,000 which can be broken down as follows:-

Breakdown of General Damages:- £5,000;
Bereavement award:- £10,000.

Breakdown of Special Damages: 
Funeral and associated expenses:- £4,000;
Past loss of services:- £9,000;
Interest:- £2,000.

Due to the claimant's underlying condition she had a poor prognosis in any event, which affected the value of the claim.