Background

Between 5 December and 20 December 2011 the claimant was admitted to the London Chest Hospital (now part of Barts Health NHS Trust) to undergo treatment for bronchiectasis. 

She was prescribed intravenous gentamicin.  The standard of care for prescribing gentamicin is for regular testing across a period of prescription every three days together with monitoring of auditory and vestibular function.  The claimant’s gentamicin levels were checked on day 1 of treatment and then on day 7 of treatment but no monitoring of auditory and vestibular function took place at any time.

Injuries

The claimant suffered from damage to her left inner ear, balance and vestibular system due to the gentamicin treatment with a 40% reduction in left sided vestibular function.  She suffered severe symptoms of dizziness and swaying and loss of balance.  This damage was permanent and irreversible. 

Unfortunately the dizziness caused the claimant to fall whilst on holiday. She suffered secondary damage in the form of an orthopaedic injury and soft tissue injuries together with a fracture of her left ankle.  She also suffered an injury to her right foot, a complete tear of her rotator cuff in her left shoulder and an advancement of her back pain. 

Medical evidence showed that, but for the damage to her balance and vestibular system and the fall, the claimant would have suffered with these orthopaedic type injuries by her mid 70s in any event.

Medical evidence said that the damage to her ear and the effects on her balance were permanent and had it not been for the gentamicin toxicity the claimant would not have developed any problems with her hearing until her late 80s or early 90s.

Damages

Court proceedings were issued and liability was admitted by the Trust. An out of court settlement of £65,000 in total damages was secured.

The value of the claim was disputed but settlement was eventually reached on a global basis with no particular breakdown of the damages of £65,000. 

However, it is estimated that the claimant’s damages would have been £30,000 for her pain suffering and loss of amenity and the remainder of money would have been allocated to care and assistance provided by her family and modifications to her home. 

Advisors

For the Claimant

  • Counsel: Daniel Bennett, Doughty Street Chambers
  • Solicitor: Lucy Lawson, Russell-Cooke LLP

For the Defendant

  • Solicitor: Kennedys Law LLP

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