Case study: permanent paralysis of face due to delay in diagnosis
‘John’ permanently lost feeling and movement in the right side of his face after doctors failed to thoroughly investigate and act on the symptoms of shingles leading to a delay in diagnosis of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. After John’s case was taken on by the medical law experts at Hospital Negligence he was awarded £20,000 in compensation.
Severe pain - sent home by GP
John’s troubles began when he developed severe pain in the right side of his face and ear with swelling and blistering of the skin and lumps on the back of his head. John went to see his GP who diagnosed muscle strain and gave him a prescription for pain relief and antibiotics with instructions to return if he saw no improvement.
Overnight John found that the right side of his face has become much weaker and concerned he attended an NHS walk-in centre the following evening. John was seen by a nurse practioner and another nurse who after a cursory examination advised him to complete his course of antibiotics and return to the centre or his GP if no better.
Second trip to GP - incorrect diagnosis
Two days later John was still no better so went back to his GP practice. John suspected that the painful rash could be shingles but the GP told him that it was not. The GP failed to examine John’s ear and face and said that the problem was with his teeth and caused by a dental abscess. The GP changed the course of antibiotics John was on and told him to see his dentist.
The following day was a Saturday and as John was in severe pain and experiencing drooping in the affected part of his face he was concerned that he may have suffered a stroke and attended A&E. The A&E doctor also wrongly diagnosed a dental abscess and advised John to continue with his antibiotics and go back to see his GP on Monday.
Delays cause permanent injury
Desperate to get to the bottom of the pain, swelling and weakness/drooping in his face, John went to see his dentist on Monday. X-Rays were taken and the dentist told John that the problem was definitely not dental. The dentist told John to go to A&E as soon as possible and made a direct referral for him to see specialist facial conditions and surgery doctors.
John was seen by the specialist doctors that afternoon who immediately diagnosed Ramsay Hunt Syndrome caused by shingles. At this point John was given antiviral medication to treat the condition, however by now it was too late to prevent permanent injury to his face. Surgery aimed at improving John’s symptoms was carried out a few months later but this has limited success and he was left with significant loss of feeling and movement in the right side of his face.
If John’s symptoms had been properly investigated and not misdiagnosed as a dental abscess then he would have been treated in time and would have made a complete or near complete recovery. After the team at Hospital Negligence fought for justice on behalf of John he was awarded £20,000 in compensation.
Have you also suffered misdiagnosis?
If you have also suffered lasting injury or trauma due to a missed or delayed diagnosis of a condition, you could make a claim for compensation. Contact us today on 0800 014 7481, or fill in our contact form. If you want to read more about how we can help you please click here.