On 29 September 2009 C woke with symptoms of cystitis… C took a prescription antibiotic tablet left over from a previous episode. She started to feel sick, and vomited regularly over next two days. She contacted her medical practice… she drank substantial amounts of water, which she thought would assist with the cystitis and prevent her becoming dehydrated as a result of being sick.
By 1 October 2009, she was still very unwell and she rang the NHS out-of-hours medical service. In the early hours of the following morning, she received a home visit from an out-of-hours service doctor, who advised that she should be admitted to hospital. He called for an ambulance. However, before it arrived, C collapsed and began to fit.
She was admitted to hospital with acute dilutional hyponatraemia, with cerebral oedema … She was treated so that the sodium levels were quickly normalised… C has been left with personality changes. Her primary contention is that those changes arise from frontal lobe damage caused by the hyponatraemia and consequent encephalopathy. The Defendants do not accept that C has suffered permanent organic brain damage.
The central issue was breach of duty: Should C have been admitted to hospital earlier?
Other issues included: legal causation, medical causation, mental capacity, and quantum.
No breach of duty