Emma Brooker could sue Dr Ali Neeson for almost £20,000 after his life-threating misdiagnosis, according to Patient Claim Line’s expert team.
Fans of the soap were left shocked after Dr Ali diagnosed Emma’s severe pain in her right-hand side as food poisoning. Emma was later found unconscious and rushed to hospital for a life-threatening emergency operation to remove her appendix.
The storyline left fans divided. Dr Ali was ‘off duty’ when he diagnosed Emma, so is he still accountable? And is the way he treated Emma negligence or just one of those things?
Medical negligence expert, Ciaran Harper, analysed the incident and warns that Corrie’s Emma could sue Ali for a minimum payout of £17,000.
Harper explains that because Ali’s misdiagnosis lead to delayed treatment and emergency surgery, Emma could claim hefty compensation. If complications occur, the figure could escalate to £60,000.
“As Emma required emergency surgery, she is more likely to suffer from more severe scarring than with non-emergency surgery,” Harper explains. “This may have a damaging psychiatric effect on Emma.”
Harper rules that as severe pain in the right-side of the abdomen is a red flag symptom of an appendicitis, Dr Ali missed Emma’s symptoms and therefore delivered negligent treatment.
“When a patient clearly shows sudden-onset abdominal pain in their right side, a reasonably competent GP should have appendicitis at the top of their mind and it is expected that they refer the patient to a hospital for further investigation.”
“Dr Ali Neeson didn’t ask how long the pain in Emma’s side had been going on, where it was centred, if she had a fever, vomiting, diarrhoea, whether she had any allergies or had eaten anything unusual – just drinking. That was shocking, really. The only thing he did right was to tell her to go to A&E if it got worse. It’s plain from his manner that he’s just not interested here.”
The fact that Dr Ali was off-duty at the time of diagnosing Emma is also not a defence, as Harper explains:
“In my view, those viewers who are defending Dr Neeson because he was off-duty are wrong to do so. He still has to act to the appropriate standard – he can’t just wing it and write it all off to a stomach bug.”
However, Harper warns that Dr Ali may be let off the hook if it can be proven that a correct diagnosis would not have made a difference to Emma’s treatment – namely if her appendix would have ruptured too quickly for non-emergency surgery.
“It is possible that Dr Neeson could avoid a medical negligence claim altogether. If Ms Brooker was so far gone that her appendix ruptured shortly after she left her workplace, it is likely that it would have ruptured on the way to hospital even if Dr Neeson had made an urgent referral and had her rushed to hospital by ambulance.”
However presuming that there was a significant period of time between Emma’s diagnosis and her appendix rupturing, she would be entitled to a large claim.
“At an estimate, Ms Brooker would be looking at least £17,000 for general damages, assuming treatment was quite straightforward and she recovered quite quickly (plus her financial losses).
“If the rupture complicates things more, the damages and therefore figure could escalate significantly. In severe instances where the spreading infection lead to infertility or sections of bowel needing to be removed, we have seen settlements reach up to £60,000.”
In short, the damage done via emergency surgery is higher, making the value of any potential claim higher.”
If you’ve suffered from negligent medical care, contact Patient Claim Line on 0330 107 5316 or visit our medical negligence guide to find out more about making a claim.
*image credit: ITV