18th April 2019 – Our client, a 42 year old woman from West Sussex, had been suffering with bowel related symptoms for some years when, in 2014, she developed a fistula.
She was referred to colorectal surgeon Mr Jourdan on a private basis for
investigation. However, without either a colonoscopy or faecal calprotectin
test being performed (the usual tests to investigate the possibility of Crohn’s
disease), Mr Jourdan concluded that “this doesn’t look like typical Crohn’s”.
Our client was then referred to NHS care, although Mr Jourdan continued as her treating consultant, and treatment began, and progressed for 2 years, on an incorrect basis.
During this time, our client underwent numerous operations under anaesthetic to try to treat the fistula, as well as a temporary colostomy in February 2015.
Eventually, our client grew tired of the cycle of surgery and relapse, and she
sought a second opinion from St Mark’s Hospital. Immediately, Crohn’s
disease was queried and a faecal calprotectin test was performed, as well as
a colonoscopy. The results of these tests led to the diagnosis of Crohn’s
disease (which had been the correct diagnosis all along).
Our client was then treated with medication, and she underwent reversal of
the temporary colostomy in February 2017. Her current symptoms improved with this treatment, although the long term outlook from the underlying Crohn’s disease was not altered at all by the delayed diagnosis / treatment (according to our colorectal expert evidence).
The claim was pursued against Mr Jourdan on a private basis, as well as the
Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Trust.
Surprisingly, despite the NHS admitting that the entirety of the treatment
provided by Mr Jourdan was negligent (including the treatment provided on a private basis), Mr Jourdan’s medical indemnity provider denied liability for his private treatment.
However, as the value of the claim was unaffected by this discrepancy, and
as the NHS had admitted full responsibility, Mr Jourdan was not pursued
Settlement was agreed against the NHS Trust in the sum of £50,000.
Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the claim, commented “It should be very
worrying for any patient that an experienced consultant can rule out a
diagnosis like Crohn’s disease, without performing the very simple tests which would identify / exclude that condition, and instead embark on a series of surgeries (including something as serious as a temporary colostomy) which were clearly not having the desired effect, without once stopping to question his working hypothesis and to consider whether there was an alternative explanation. Thankfully, my client was brave enough to ask for a second opinion, whereupon Mr Jourdan’s error was immediately rectified.”