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Medical Negligence

Decision to deny use of Infliximab cost career in teaching and triggered years of abdominal and bowel suffering

Written by Trevor Ward, Partner & Birth Injury Team Leader


October 5, 2019

A 42-year-old man has settled his claim for more than a million pounds compensation after he was told it is unlikely he will ever work again.

The claimant, who has chosen not to be named, has received the settlement after experiencing over ten years of bowel-related pain and irreparable suffering.

After developing Crohn’s Disease in the Autumn of 2002, the claimant’s case put forward that not only did the defendant, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS, deny the use of Infliximab to effectively treat Crohn’s Disease, future neglect led to unrepairable bowel damage which cut short a promising career in teaching.

Despite the defendant denying the claim, the severity of the claimant’s healthcare needs meant not only did he have to move into an assisted-living home, he was informed it was probable he would never work again. Because of his condition.

Fletchers Solicitors’ Trevor Ward, who successfully represented the claimant, is hopeful that the financial compensation can help assist with any financial losses and restore some normality.

Trevor said:

“The claimant has a very disabling condition and we were pleased to assist him with his claim.

“I hope the settlement lets the claimant move on with his life and supporting his family.

“It was a very difficult and complex case with the majority of allegations contested by the defendants, but we were very pleased with the outcome for the claimant.”

In the autumn of 2002, the claimant developed Crohn’s Disease where he commenced on various oral medications.

In January 2004, the claimant’s condition was such that it was alleged he met criteria set out in the NICE Guidelines of April 2002 for the use of Infliximab – a recommended treatment for Crohn’s Disease.

The claimant, however, was not offered the drug.

In April 2004, the claimant then underwent a limited right hemicolectomy [A colectomy procedure to remove one side of the colon] and ileo-colonic anastomosis [the joining together of the end of the ileum, or small intestine, to the colon.]

The claimant pleaded that he could not give informed consent to this procedure in the absence of proper information on Infliximab. Further, the surgery was contraindicated in the presence of multifocal Crohn’s Disease.

Post 2004, the claimant contended he continued to meet the criteria for the use of Infliximab but was not given the benefit of this treatment.

The claimant continued to suffer and it was  his case that in November 2012 he developed fistulation of the small bowel giving rise to an Intra-Abdominal Abscess [the collection of pus or infected fluid that is surrounded by inflamed tissue inside the belly].

In early December 2012, the claimant underwent an operation, during which a large Subcutaneous Abscess Cavity was found, together with a mass of small bowel Crohn’s Disease in the mid abdomen fistulating through the abdominal wall into the abscess cavity.

It was the claimant’s case that there was a delay in recognition and treatment and because of that, he would have responded better to Infliximab treatment back in 2004, and thus, the claimant’s Crohn’s Disease would have gone into probable sustained remission.

It was also coherently argued that even belated treatment would have avoided most of the severe health issues the claimant went on to suffer.

– Daily Abnominal pain
– Diarrhoea, daily
– Nausea
– Heartburn
– Reflux
– Limited in what food he can eat
– Fatigue
– Weight loss
– Depression

The claimant contended that in 2004 he would have completed a teacher training course, but due to the nature of his symptoms, he was unable to complete it.

Not only that, the claimant was informed that there was little prospect of being able to gain future employment.

The claimant required to move house to better  meet his care needs and he had a stoma which required cleaning two times a day.

The stoma would often leak at night and the claimant would set an alarm hourly through the night to check for leakage.

All aspects of the claimant’s life have been affected.

The Defendant has since admitted that treatment with Infliximab would have brought about some suppression of the claimant’s Crohn’s Disease, but it would have been limited recovery to about two years but would not have been given until 2010 and thereafter it would have progressed as it did. Otherwise, causation was denied.

Speaking in conclusion of the case, the claimant said:

“My case was a complicated matter that went on for a number of years. From day one Trevor Ward was amazing. At every stage of the case he guided my wife and I through the complexities of the legal system and always kept us up to date with how things were progressing.

“We came to trust him wholeheartedly and consider him a friend. He always had our best interests at heart and we appreciated his candour and professionalism when difficult decisions had to be made.

“We were wholly satisfied with the outcome of the case and are grateful to Trevor and his team for all their hard work over the last six years.

“I would personally recommend Trevor and Fletchers to anyone with a complex clinical negligence case like mine.”