Misdiagnosis at birth left man with lifelong problems

Mark was diagnosed shortly after he was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), a rare genetic condition, and treated for 10 years with steroids. But when he was 10 years old, it was discovered that he had never had the condition, and that the steroids had caused serious physical problems.

He came to Ally Taft for help with a claim against the hospital trust, and in spite of the trust arguing that he would have had problems even without the steroids, she managed to reach a settlement for him of more than £1.125m.

Physical mental and emotional effects of misdiagnosis

Mark was born prematurely weighing only 1.26kgs by Caesarean section and was diagnosed shortly afterwards with CAH, which was treated with continuous glucocorticoid therapy – steroids. The 10 years of steroid treatment which followed inhibited Mark’s growth, so that he is now left with a small stature and head size, as well as problems with hearing and sight.

The treatment has also impaired his cognitive function to the level of borderline learning disability, and he also suffers because of abnormalities of emotional development.

Trust admits liability

The hospital trust involved admitted that the diagnosis was inaccurate but denied that the negligent steroid use caused Mark’s injuries and cognitive abnormalities.

Ally commissioned multiple medical reports from experts in neuropsychiatry and neuropsychology to establish this and she managed to settle the case without the need of a trial, convincing the trust to settle the claim, with them admitting 85 per cent of liability in the case. The settlement was finally approved by the court due to issues surrounding Mark’s mental capacity.

She said: “Mark will need help and support for the rest of his life because of this diagnostic error so soon after he was born. The steroid treatment has affected him in so many ways – I was glad to be able to achieve a settlement for him that will give him some security for the future.”

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Ally Taft, Partner

Starting out as a physiotherapist, Ally embarked on her legal training knowing that she wanted to specialise in clinical negligence from the outset. Now a partner for Medical Accident Group, her experience and medical understanding have stood her and her clients in good stead, combined, as they are, with her determination to seek justice for clients whose lives have been devastated by clinical negligence.

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