James' misdiagnosis case settled for €3.5m
Medical Negligence

James’ misdiagnosis case settled for €3.5m

3 minute read

The Plaintiff in this case was diagnosed as having motor neurone disease in November 2000 and it was the Plaintiff’s case that this diagnosis was unsound from the very beginning.  The Plaintiff’s medical experts agued that full proper investigations had not been carried out to out rule any other spinal issues which could have been causing his symptoms.  Furthermore, it was the Plaintiff’s case that his symptoms were never a good fit for motor neurone disease and became even less so as time progressed.

The Plaintiff’s symptoms deteriorated from 2000 onwards.  From around 2004, he had significant urinary and bowel issues and used a walking frame at home and a wheelchair outside the house.  He was almost entirely dependant on his wheelchair by 2004, at which time he had outlived the typical life expectancy for motor neurone disease, but no further investigations were carried out at that time.

As time progressed, the Plaintiff developed further symptoms and difficulties.  In 2010 he developed pressure areas on his left heel and his left big toe and ultimately, he had bilateral above knee amputations in April and December 2015, due to severe deterioration in his ulcers.  He developed severe ulcers in various parts of his body and had significant ongoing bowel and bladder problems, including a permanent colostomy.  The Plaintiff attended numerous Hospitals for his ongoing health issues and contracted infections including CRE (carbapenem resistant enterococcus).

In May 2015, some 15 years after the Plaintiff’s original diagnosis of motor neurone disease, an MRI scan showed an abnormality in his spinal cord at T5 to T6 and the possibility of spinal vascular malformation was noted.  A spinal dural AVF fistula was suspected and consequently, the Plaintiff underwent spinal angiography, during which he had an iatrogenic stroke which caused his ability to read and his peripheral vision on the right side to be severely impaired.  This also impacted on the Plaintiff’s short-term memory.

As a result of the above, the Plaintiff was diagnosed as suffering from depression and the Hospital treating him finally confirmed to him that he likely did not have motor neurone disease on 8th February 2017.  The Plaintiff had numerous hospital admissions and was an inpatient in Hospital from January 2017 up to 2020.

As a result of his injuries, the Plaintiff is dependant on others for most activities of daily living, although he has the use of his upper arms.

The matter was specially fixed for Trial for 21st April 2020 and ultimately settled at mediation on 1st April 2020.  Liability was not admitted by any of the Defendants in the matter and in particular, causation of the Plaintiff’s injuries was disputed.   Very significant matters in the case such as the Plaintiff’s ability to return home and live outside a Hospital setting and the Plaintiff’s life expectancy were very much at issue.   The case settled on 1st April 2020 for a total amount of €3.5 million plus costs.

In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

The name referenced throughout this case study is a pseudonym that has been put in place to protect the client’s privacy.


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