Case studies

Trust admits negligence for failure to identify Crohn's Disease


We settled a considerable claim against East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust for a client who suffered a delay in the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.

In January 2005, the claimant was 16 years old when she underwent unnecessary abdominal surgery for misdiagnosed appendicitis. This diagnostic error was further compounded when during surgery the true diagnosis was still not identified.

This surgery led to further complications as her diseased intestine failed, causing her bowel contents to leak into her abdomen. This required further surgical intervention. For a second time however, Crohn’s disease was still not recognised, which made for a second unsuccessful operation.

Consequently, a third operation was conducted to manage the excessive abdomen leakage. Nonetheless, a stitch was erroneously placed which led to abdominal wall abscesses. The following day the correct diagnosis of Crohn’s disease was finally made.

Despite this, between the ages of 16-21 years the claimant endured multiple surgeries for abdominal sepsis and adhesions. As a consequence, she has severe gastro-intestinal problems, restricted diet and abdominal scarring. Her fertility has also been compromised and she has been advised that she will live with chronic pain for the rest of her life.

This was an out-of-court settlement where the trust accepted full liability for its negligence. We secured £630,000 for our client. In January 2005, the claimant was 16 years old when she underwent unnecessary abdominal surgery for misdiagnosed appendicitis. This diagnostic error was further compounded when during surgery the true diagnosis was still not identified.

This surgery led to further complications as her diseased intestine failed, causing her bowel contents to leak into her abdomen. This required further surgical intervention. For a second time however, Crohn’s disease was still not recognised, which made for a second unsuccessful operation.

Consequently, a third operation was conducted to manage the excessive abdomen leakage. Nonetheless, a stitch was erroneously placed which led to abdominal wall abscesses. The following day the correct diagnosis of Crohn’s disease was finally made.

Despite this, between the ages of 16-21 years the claimant endured multiple surgeries for abdominal sepsis and adhesions. As a consequence, she has severe gastro-intestinal problems, restricted diet and abdominal scarring. Her fertility has also been compromised and she has been advised that she will live with chronic pain for the rest of her life.

This was an out-of-court settlement where the trust accepted full liability for its negligence. We secured £630,000 for our client.


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP