A doctor who conquered childhood disability to achieve success – but whose career was destroyed by a series of hospital blunders after he fell down the stairs at home – has been awarded more than £450,000 in compensation after succeeding in his claim against the NHS.
As he was returning to his home in the early hours after a night out with friends, the doctor lost his footing on a flight of stairs and fell backwards. His neighbour found him in a confused state about two hours later. He was taken to hospital by ambulance, but crucial hours passed before he was transferred to a specialist unit where a brain operation was performed.
The operation failed to save him from brain damage, which has left him with impaired cognitive skills, and he has been unable to work as a doctor since. The tragedy was made all the worse by the fact that he had undergone brain surgery as a child and had been left partially paralysed. He had nevertheless overcome his disabilities to achieve his professional qualification and had worked at several hospitals, as a prison medic and as a general practitioner.
Lawyers acting on his behalf sued the NHS trust responsible for the hospital. Ruling in his favour, the High Court found that there had been a negligent delay in assessing his condition and carrying out a brain scan after he was admitted. An ambulance transfer to the specialist unit should also have been arranged earlier than it was.
The result was that the operation was unnecessarily delayed and pressure had continued to build inside his skull, worsening the damage to his brain. The doctor was awarded £454,858 in damages for his lost earnings, pain and suffering and to cover the cost of care and assistance he will need in future.