Tom Goodhead secures settlement in Welsh NHS Case

News

14/01/2016

Kathleen Neville passed away on the 3rd March, 2014, following admission to the University Hospital of Wales on the 28th November, 2013 with a fracture of the neck of her femur.

Mrs Neville suffered from hyopthyroidism and required a thyroid medication (levothyroxine). Upon admission, the clerking doctor failed to note her drug chart correctly and Mrs Neville was not provided with levothyroxine.

Five weeks subsequently passed during which the omission was not noted by Consultants, Junior Doctors, Pharmacists and Nurses. As a result of the absence of the levothyroxine, Mrs Neville fell into a myxedema coma.

Once the mistake was finally discovered, levothyroxine was subsequently reintroduced but Mrs Neville sadly passed away.

Tom Goodhead, instructed by Javid Asharaf of Beers LLP, represented her family in an inquest into Mrs Neville’s death in July 2015. The inquest received wide media coverage in Wales.

Whilst the Coroner did not find that the omission of levothyroxine had caused or contributed to Mrs Neville’s death, he raised serious concerns in respect of the University Hospital of Wales and commissioned a report to prevent future deaths

Following the outcome of the inquest, expert reports were obtained from a Consultant Endocrinologist and a Consultant of Geriatric Medicine. Contrary to the findings of the Coroner, the experts opined that the omission of levothyroxine had materially contributed to the death of Mrs Neville.

Proceedings were issued and a Defence was served on behalf of the Health Board. Settlement was achieved before the listing of a Costs and Case Management Conference.

The case settled for a confidential sum and incorporated damages for:

  1. PSLA on account of the myxedema coma
  2. Article 2 HRA damages for the family members on account of the omission of levothyroxine having materially contributed to the death

The case illustrates the importance of pursuing damages under the Human Rights Act in accordance with Rabone v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust [2012] UKSC 2

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