The Claimant, aged 31 years at date of settlement, was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus, and received ventricular peritoneal shunt. He was paraplegic and wheelchair dependent.
At the age of 20, he was admitted to the Defendant’s hospital with a blocked shunt and raised intracranial pressure. Two days later a consultant examined him and reviewed the CT scan, confirming that the pressure was almost certainly due to shunt malfunction.
One week later, the Claimant’s visual acuity was reduced to “counting fingers” in the right eye and 3/60 in the left eye. Consultant ophthalmologist examined Claimant’s eyes, which showed grossly swollen and haemorrhagic optic nerve heads. He advised the treating consultant that suspicion of raised intracranial pressure appeared correct. Planned shunt insertion four weeks later did not take place. A further month later another specialist took charge of the Claimant’s case and a craniotomy was performed one week later.
Claimant suffered permanent blindness and alleged this was consequent to Trust’s negligent delay in performing shunt revision. Defendant admitted some delay in treatment but argued injury to Claimant’s sight had already occurred by this stage and accordingly delay had not caused additional loss. Defendant further argued due to cognitive and physical difficulties the Claimant suffered, which were pre-existing, his additional care needs consequent to blindness were limited.
Out of court settlement: £340,000 lump sum and periodical payments of £30,000 per annum for duration of life (estimated General Damages £150,000).