Advising with empathy and experience

Widower Wins Substantial Compensation After NHS Errors

The husband of a woman who died following a series of NHS blunders has won a six-figure sum in an out-of-court settlement.

Judith Laing, 65, who worked as a school cleaning supervisor, woke up with severe stomach pains and was violently sick. Her husband phoned the NHS helpline and was told that she should take a paracetamol.

Over the next week, Mrs Laing’s symptoms worsened. She saw three different GPs, but each of them failed to diagnose the problem. She was variously told that she was suffering from a urinary, kidney and stomach infection. She was also told that the lump on her abdomen was too low down to be a hernia, although it actually indicated the critical condition that she was suffering from.

It was nine days after she first became ill that doctors realised that Mrs Laing was suffering from a strangulated bowel hernia, which is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate surgery. By this time, she had been in hospital for three days. She had surgery to remove part of her bowel, but her bowel then ruptured and further surgery failed to save her. She died six weeks later in intensive care.

An inquiry into the case found that Mrs Laing could have survived had her condition been identified and treated earlier.

Mrs Laing’s husband, Alastair, pursued a claim against the NHS Trust involved, which agreed to pay a six-figure sum in compensation.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.