A compensation award of over £1.6m for a delayed diagnosis of a brain injury has been nade to thirty six year old former opera singer Elaine Lennon.
Ms Lennon was an award-winning inger, with a bright future ahead of her both as a singer and as a recently qualified psychologist. However, in February 2007, she started suffering headaches while pregnant with her daughter Claudia, and attended the accident and emergency unit her local hospital.
There, Mr. Justice John Quirk heard at the High Court, she was diagnosed by a medical registrar as suffering from a urinary tract infection and referred to a midwife, who assessed she was about to give birth and instructed that Elaine underwent a Caesarean section to deliver Claudia.
Claudia was born a healthy baby, but the headaches and neck stiffness continued and Elaine failed to respond toa course of antibiotics. Doctors twice queried whether a CT scan of her brain should be performed but none was done, and Elaine and her baby were discharged a week after the birth.
Had a CT scan of Elaine’s brain been performed at the time, doctors would have noticed an abscess which later burst into the ventricles. Instead, she attended her GP’s clinic where Dr. Patrick Mathuna administered an injection which temporarily stopped the headaches and vomiting which had developed.
Dr. Mathuna called on Elaine a few days later, determined that she was suffering from post-natal depression and prescribed a sedative. Later that day, she fell at home and was admitted to an emergency department by ambulance. The following morning, Elaine experienced two seizures after which a CT scan was performed which revealed the extent of Elaine´s illness.
During the hearing the court heard how Elaine is now confined to a wheelchair and can only speak in a whisper. She also requires 24 hour care due to the doctors failing to notice her brain injury.
Approving an interim compensation settlement of £1.6m Mr. Justice John Quirke said that, were it not for her injuries, Elaine had the potential to make a lot of money in the future. Liability was admitted.