Patient successfully sues GP for failing to diagnose stroke resulting in severe disability and wins damages of €1,750,000
A.B. a 71-year-old female patient successfully sued her GP and won damages agreed at €1,750,000 plus costs on a without admission of liability basis. The Plaintiff attended her GP’s surgery for assessment on the 9th January 2016. She complained of a feeling of heaviness in her fingers of her left hand and altered sensation in the hand. She had also experienced a number of episodes of dropping objects without explanation. She feared that she might have suffered a minor stroke. After an examination of the Plaintiff’s hand and taking a history, the GP wrongly diagnosed that the patient had suffered an orthopaedic injury and referred her for routine outpatient x-ray of the hand. Subsequently a week later on the 16th January 2016 the Plaintiff suffered a second major stroke as a consequence of which she was left with severe disability in her mobility with life altering consequences. It was the Plaintiff’s case that she ought to have been prescribed aspirin or other similar anti-platelet drugs at the earlier surgery visit. It was the Plaintiff’s case that if aspirin had been prescribed immediately on the 9th January and the Plaintiff referred to the nearest stroke unit in her local or regional hospital she would have been properly diagnosed and the secondary stoke caused by clot formation (thrombus) and secondary clot break off causing infarcts, would have been avoided. The Defendant GP denied liability and there was a dispute as to the precise history given by the patient of the surgery visit. The settlement at €1,750,000 reflected the Plaintiff’s age (71 years of age at time of settlement) and future anticipated life expectancy and the litigation risks. While the settlement was less than the full potential value of the case the Plaintiff was happy to accept the settlement as the damages recovered would have a major beneficial impact on the Plaintiff’s quality of life and would enable her to obtain the necessary paid personal care, aids and appliances and other adaptations to the family home.