Published: December 18, 2019 | Updated: December 19, 2019

UK first as law firm helps student claim £815k compensation after alleged hospital error

By Andrew Diprose, editor

Dorset law firm Coles Miller has helped a student to claim £815,000 compensation after an alleged hospital error caused permanent damage to her bladder.

It was the first case in the UK to pilot the NHS Resolution E-Filing Scheme in which all mediation documents are filed electronically onto an online portal, saving time and money.

Coles Miller took legal action against the NHS after the then 17-year-old student’s ovarian cyst operation went tragically wrong.

She began to suffer urinary retention but was allegedly wrongly discharged from hospital without being correctly informed that her bladder was not working properly.

The girl’s urinary retention problem went untreated for seven weeks, causing severe and permanent damage to her bladder.

She now requires a urostomy bag that must be changed daily and monitored carefully as well as bladder spasms four or five times every day and recurring urinary tract infections.

Her No Win No Fee compensation claim was handled by Coles Miller solicitor Lydia Barnett, a Poole-based Partner in the firm’s Medical Negligence Department, pictured.

Ms Barnett said: “Our client has suffered long-term physical and psychological injuries, which have significantly affected her day-to-day life and have had a detrimental impact on her ability to pursue a chosen career as a chartered accountant.”

The student, now 24 and from Waterlooville, reached an out-of-court settlement with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust following mediation. The trust denied causing the problem.

Coles Miller and barrister Hamish Dunlop of 3PB Bournemouth represented the patient throughout her case and her mediation. The mediator was Robert Seabrook QC.

A large proportion of the damages claimed were to compensate Miss A for past and expected future financial losses and expenses.

They include:

  • lost earnings – the patient was hindered in pursuing her studies and a career as a chartered accountant
  • a lump sum to reflect that – even if she did become an accountant – she would be at a disadvantage in her industry compared with other employees
  • care and assistance with her urostomy bag, household and social activities
  • house adaptations due to her physical limitations
  • assistance with gardening and DIY
  • future private treatment and medical expenses.

The case involved medical evidence from experts in gynaecology, urology, nursing, psychiatry, occupational therapy and neurology.

Ms Barnett said the NHS Resolution E-Filing Scheme had proved highly effective.

She added: “E-filing was efficient in ensuring that all parties had access to the documents simultaneously.

“It saved the time, expense and paper involved with preparing hard copy bundles.

“It is hoped that this successful pilot of the scheme will help legal teams in mediation in the future.”