[2007] LTLPI 07.04.09  

In 1983, the Claimant attended the Defendant hospital at age 15 after inhaling a piece of plastic. He was unable to breathe properly and underwent an X-ray following which he was informed that he must have coughed up the plastic and was suffering from asthma. He returned the following day but was again advised he was suffering from asthma and was discharged without further investigation.

Claimant continued to suffer breathing difficulties and regularly consulted his GP and various hospitals concerning these. In 2001 he eventually underwent bronchoscopy which identified the piece of plastic obstructing the main bronchus airway. Despite its removal Claimant continued to suffer bronchiestasis resulting in embarrassing sputum production and consequent psychological sequelae.  

The Claimant alleged the Defendant had been negligent in failing to perform a bronchoscopy 18 years previously which would have identified the retained plastic in his bronchus and avoided his development of bronchiestasis and resultant symptoms. He alleged the treatment for his condition included powerful medication resulting in premature arthritis, adrenal failure and obesity. Claim was also brought against Claimant’s GPs on the basis they should have been aware plastic was not radio opaque and further investigations were warranted.  

Parties' experts agreed although Claimant was capable of some work, he had never effectively been in employment and with no qualifications he would find it difficult to find work now, aged 38.  

Out of court settlement: £450,000 (estimated General Damages £50,000, Future Loss of Earnings £150,000).