[2008] LTLPI 20.03.09

The Deceased, aged 78 years, attended the Defendant’s hospital suffering respiratory distress. He was diagnosed with right-sided pneumothorax and chest drain was inserted. He was discharged after ten days but was re-admitted to A&E two months later with recurrence of symptoms. Deceased was discharged after one week following needle aspiration. Shortly after he was readmitted due to increased breathlessness and treated for exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  

Sputum sample tested positive for methycillin resistant staphylococcus (“MRSA”) and medication was commenced for eleven days with advice of Consultant Microbiologist, during which time Deceased complained of diarrhoea. He was subsequently discharged but readmitted by his GP with profuse diarrhoea and dehydration. Acute renal failure secondary to diarrhoea was diagnosed. Clostridium difficile was subsequently identified in stool cultures. Deceased died the following day. Post Mortem recorded cause of death was acute renal failure due to clostridium difficile.  

Claimant alleged negligent failure to diagnose and treat Deceased for MRSA and clostridium difficile and a failure to take appropriate measures to implement hospital policy to manage or prevent spread of MRSA and clostridium difficile.  

Defendant admitted failure to diagnose and continue to treat the clostridium difficile infection, which on the balance of probabilities had contributed to the terminal decline of Deceased’s condition. Out of court settlement £7,000 (estimated General Damages £3,500).