XYZ v Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [2016] EWHC 2687 (QB) (28 October 2016)

This case concerns the quality of the treatment and attention that C received at what was then the Pembury Hospital in Tunbridge Wells in May 2001 when he was 23½ months old. (paragraph 1)

The primary issue is whether his presentation when he was taken to the hospital and during the hours thereafter was such that steps should have been taken that would have halted his developing pneumococcal meningitis. (paragraph 3}

As a result of the development of pneumococcal meningitis he now suffers from epilepsy, a residual left hemi-syndrome, a substantial loss of vision and severe cognitive impairment leading to significant learning and behavioural difficulties. (paragraph 4)

Previous febrile fits at 17 months and 21 months. C had a febrile illness on 22 May 2001 and had a fit in the evening. He was taken to hospital. The summary of the doctor’s assessment and plan was set out (at paragraph 40):

Diagnosis of problem list: Fit + fever. Likely febrile convulsion – previous episodes – quicker recovery this time – probable viral illness – signs of discharge in nose.

Initial investigations and results: Urine MICS. Throat swab. If temp not settles needs RV + bloods. Informed N staff to call if any concern or temp not ↓

The case was factually dense and specific, involved expert evidence of several disciplines.

Conclusion:…Dr F was not guilty of any negligence in either of her examinations and that the steps she took were entirely appropriate in the circumstances and in accordance with the practice of a reasonable body of clinicians in 2001. The mere fact that events turned out unexpectedly in a tragically different fashion is not, of course, a reason for being critical of her conduct. (paragraph 86)

Claim dismissed (paragraph 89)