Compensation Paid for Failure to Diagnose Meningitis

Patient Compensated After GP Fails to Diagnose Meningitis 25980

A woman from Hampshire has been awarded compensation after a doctor failure to spot signs of Meningitis which led to her going blind.

Julie Coakley was displaying Meningitis symptoms in January 2008 and went to Gratton Surgery in Sutton Scotney, Hampshire to get checked out. However, Dr Henrietta Rosie determined that she was suffering from a respiratory tract infection and ordered her to take lots of fluids and have plenty of bed rest.<

Mrs Coakley, 48, collapsed just a few hours after being sent home and was in a coma for several days. She eventually regained consciousness in hospital, but was completely blind and left with impaired hearing, as well as facial palsy.

Mrs Coakley had been in the final year of a three dimensional design course at the University of Creative Arts when these events occurred and she had been hoping to become a professional glass designer.

She took legal action and made a claim for medical negligence compensation, and this week it was confirmed she has been successful in getting compensation. 

The actual amount of compensation that she has received in damages has not yet been disclosed, but the Romsey Advertiser pointed out that her claim had previously been valued at more than £1 million.

Medical Mistakes Made

Judge Oliver-Jones QC, who presided over the medical neligence case, said that medical mistakes were made because the rashes on Mrs Coakley's body were only examined by her GP superficially.

This, he stated, meant that key medical checks, such as an examination of her neck for stiffness, were not carried out; despite the patient raising concerns about Meningitis.

"Dr Rosie failed to suspect, diagnose or exclude, and consequently failed to treat Mrs Coakley for, bacterial Meningitis when she should have done and when a reasonably competent GP would have done so," he commented.

Judge Oliver-Jones therefore concluded that Dr Rosie was negligent and "thus in breach of the duty of care she owed to Mrs Oakley as her patient". He added that the findings are "regrettable but inevitable".

Dr Rosie, who no longer works at the Gratton Surgery, has welcomed the end of the case and wished Mrs Oakley and her family the best for the future.

This is the latest case relating to Meningitis that has cast the NHS in a negative light. Earlier this month, it was revealed that one baby died and 14 more were placed in neonatal intensive care units at six hospitals after contracting Septicaemia. 

It has been alleged that the infants developed Septicaemia because of contaminated food drips.

Christopher Head, Chief Executive of the Meningitis Research Foundation said it has been "desperately sorry" to hear of these events.

"Septicaemia is dangerous at any age, but tiny babies are especially vulnerable," he commented.

According to estimates from the Meningitis Research Foundation, approximately 3,200 people in the UK develop bacterial Meningitis and associated Septicaemia each year.

While figures show that the number of cases has dropped by about half in the last quarter of a century, the Meningitis Research Foundation believes there are almost ten new cases in Britain every day.

By Francesca Witney