In February 2008, Mr A, a normal, healthy 19 year old applying to study for an HND in computing at University in London, tripped on a defective pavement and fell onto his knees. An ambulance was called to take him to Homerton Hospital where he was examined by Mr Qamar and discharged with a splint and crutches, after being told to take painkillers and return in a week.
Mr A experienced ongoing pain that the hospital failed to identify and following an MRI scan in September 2018, it was established that Mr A had ruptured the tendons in both of his knees – an injury that normally requires surgical repair within 48 hours to limit the severity of the permanent effects of the injury.
This diagnosis was missed by Mr Qamar over the seven months he was treating Mr A and due to his failure to pick up on this injury in the early stages, the repairs to his ruptured tendons were unsuccessful. Mr A was rehabilitated and received physiotherapy, but it had little impact on his ability to mobilise independently, leaving him wheelchair bound and dependent on family.
On behalf of Mr A, Express Solicitors, led by partner Daniel Slade, pursued claims against Pinnacle PSG Ltd, which was responsible for the pathway and Homerton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which was responsible for the failings of Mr Qamar. Pinnacle admitted fault for the defective payment and the NHS Trust admitted that Mr Qamar’s failing were negligent, as the diagnosis should have been made sooner.
Commenting on the case, Slade said: “The Claimant faced many challenges throughout the duration of his nine year claim against Pinnacle and the NHS Trust. As his case was prepared it became evident that there were medical records missing from Mr Qamar’s clinics. The Claimant also suspected that he was being recorded and tested by the other parties when a suspect package of lipstick was delivered in a large box to his home address. He and his family thought this was strange as they hadn’t ordered it and the person delivering the package was insistent on him signing for it and taking it from him, despite being advised by his family that he was in a wheelchair and couldn’t get to the door.
“In addition to this, as the case progressed, an expert instructed by the NHS Trust alleged that his disabling symptoms were not as a result of the accident but the result of Mr Farooq being from a family of married cousins in Pakistan. The suggestions made by this expert were disrespectful, offensive and ultimately disproven after the Claimant was subjected to a number of invasive tests at the demand of the NHS Trust, which were all returned as normal.”
During the course of the claim, a knee surgery specialist advised that Mr Qamar failed to diagnose the quadriceps tendon ruptures and if he had done so, the Claimant would have been able to mobilise independently and been able to walk long distances within six to 12 months after the accident, as well as apply for work and lead a normal home life.
Slade continues: “At case management, each party was permitted to rely on the evidence of an orthopaedic surgeon, neurologist, care expert, accommodation expert and employment consultant.
“The Defendant’s experts raised concerns about ‘the aggressive neurological deficit’ while another had concerns the Claimant suffered from ‘a primary underlying myopathy, probably of a dystrophic type’ and recommended a number of tests to establish whether he had myopathy including blood tests to establish creatine kinase levels and genetically analyse he Duchenne gene, EMG, and muscle biopsy.
“Our experts disputed these claims, but nevertheless, the Claimant underwent the invasive testing recommended – blood tests to assess creatine kinase levels, an EMG and MRI scan of the brain, which all were noted by the Defence as normal. This was when one of the Defence’s experts advanced a new argument that the Claimant may be the carrier of a defective gene due to being the product of a consanguineous marriage which, again, was not proved.
“This case also took into account ‘prolonged recumbency’ and its effect on (lack of) rehabilitation; with experts determining that the Claimant was unfortunately unlikely to make any improvements even with the benefit of intensive rehabilitation.”
Despite the number of delaying tactics applied by the NHS Trust including multiple court applications to push back the court deadlines in the case, Mr A successfully settled his case at a joint settlement meeting in November 2017. He was awarded a settlement figure of £6,428,290 broken down as a lump sum of £2,640,000 and a Periodic payment Order of £53,035.