Gail was only 38 when she contracted chicken pox from her 4-year-old daughter. She began to feel unwell over the next few days and so her Husband telephoned NHS 111. It was a Saturday afternoon, and she was advised to go to an out of hours GP service about 20 minutes away.
At the time Gail had a sore throat, was unable to keep any food or water down and had a temperature of over 40 degrees centigrade. The Nurse Practitioner thought she was suffering from a bad case of chickenpox and that she needed to go home and “tough it out” and let it “ride its course” and that “all would be fine”. Gail went home.
She died on Sunday evening.
Chicken pox in adults is extremely dangerous and usually requires immediate treatment in hospital before sepsis sets in and the vital organs shut down. All GP’s are aware of its seriousness and have protocols in place to deal with such occurrences. Unfortunately, in this case the Nurse Practitioner although making a correct diagnosis did not follow the protocol that was in place – she should have urgently referred Gail to hospital. Had that happened she would have survived.
The out of hours service did not admit fault until after proceedings were started. They did not offer compensation until a Trial date was fixed. This is how some Defendants work.
Gail had a good job and was the main breadwinner in the Family with her husband Geoff staying at home to look after their young daughter. The case settled a few weeks before Trial. The settlement will go some way to help the Family pay for what is needed, but of course it is no compensation for the loss of a Mother and Wife.
Hilton Armstrong – March 2021