Liability admitted for delayed bowel investigations

Our client, a 20 year old woman when these events took place, attended at her GP surgery complaining of an altered bowel habit, abdominal pain, and weight loss from February 2010 onwards.

She was initially diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and was given medication.

She returned a number of times, the medication providing no benefit, and was again sent away with medication.

By March 2010 she should have been referred to hospital for further investigation.

Unfortunately, as a result of the delays in referral, our client was not seen by the gastroenterology department until 21.09.10. At that point a CT scan was performed, confirmed that the diagnosis was Crohn’s disease (not IBS), and confirmed that it had progressed too far to be managed conservatively.

Our client therefore required an operation to remove part of her bowel. However, that had to be delayed while she was admitted to hospital for IV feeding as she was too weak to undergo an operation due to the amount of weight she had lost.

The operation was eventually performed on 08.10.10, and our client was left with a stoma. A reversal of the stoma had been scheduled, but has not yet taken place because of ongoing inflammation of the bowel, so our client continues to struggle with the stoma.

The Defendant has admitted a breach of duty in failing to appropriately refer our client to the gastroenterology department in March 2010 and has also admitted that, if the delays had not occurred, she would have been managed conservatively and would have avoided surgery at that time.

Alex Tengroth, who has conduct of the claim, commented:

There remains a discrepancy between the parties as to whether surgery would have been required in the future in any event, but our expert is confident that this would not have been needed if the original delays had not occurred.

I am now in the process of valuing the claim, and look forward to achieving a good settlement for my client.