Paul attended his GP with symptoms of needing to pass urine more frequently and pain on urinating. His GP performed some tests and diagnosed him with a suspected urinary tract infection. He was prescribed antibiotics.
Around five months later, he attended his GP again complaining of similar symptoms. Paul was concerned about prostate cancer and his GP performed a rectal examination. This found that he had an enlarged prostate so his GP arranged for him to undergo a blood test to consider his prostate specific antigen (PSA) which showed levels that were on the upper limit of normal.
The GP advised that Paul should return to have his PSA tested again in a months’ time. When this test was performed it again showed a raised PSA and Paul was referred to hospital. He was assessed by a consultant urologist who advised him that surveillance should be continued and a further appointment was made for four months’ time.
When Paul was next assessed it was found that his PSA level had risen slightly. Paul agreed with the consultant that he would prefer to have his PSA level checked again in another six months’ time rather than undergo a biopsy.
Before his next appointment, Paul again attended his GP with symptoms of pain on passing urine and frequency. A sample was sent off which showed that blood was present in the urine. Blood tests were arranged which again showed a slightly increasing PSA. At his next hospital appointment with the consultant urologist, Paul was advised to undergo a biopsy of his prostate in light of his increasing PSA. Paul was also referred to the haematuria clinic so that the cause of the blood in his urine could be investigated.
Before he attended the haematuria clinic, Paul underwent the biopsy which was performed by an advanced ultrasound practitioner. Paul returned home the same day and initially felt fine, however, by the next morning he had begun to shake, feel unwell and was breathless. He called his GP at around 10:00am and was advised that 2:30pm was the earliest appointment that they could offer.
Paul’s wife then telephoned the hospital and spoke to the advanced ultrasound practitioner who had performed the procedure. She confirmed that Paul was shaking, breathless and felt unwell. The advanced ultrasound practitioner recommended that Paul keep the GP appointment as it was unlikely he would be seen in A&E any sooner.
Paul attended his GP as arranged where he was seen by his usual GP and a student. A urine sample was provided which showed visible blood and Paul was prescribed a course of antibiotics. Paul took two of these doses. In the early hours of the following morning Paul collapsed. His wife witnessed that he was making strange breathing noises and that his eyes were staring. She called an ambulance immediately.
Paul arrived at hospital at 3:27am where it was queried whether he was suffering from sepsis as a result of the biopsy procedure. IV antibiotics were commenced to treat the infection. Paul remained in the intensive care unit being treated with antibiotics for the next month and a half, however, unfortunately he continued to deteriorate and did not recover from the infection. Supportive care was withdrawn and sadly Paul passed away.
Following Paul’s death, his wife approached Shoosmiths for answers. Specialist solicitor, Amy Greaves, helped to prove that there had been a failure by the urologist treating Paul to consider that his raised PSA may have been attributable to the fact he had a urinary tract infection as opposed to prostate cancer. This led to a premature biopsy being undertaken. As the biopsy was, on the balance of probabilities, undertaken when there was an underlying infection, insufficient antibiotics were prescribed and Paul developed sepsis.
The final allegation of negligence was that following the biopsy Paul was incorrectly advised not to return to the hospital and to go to the GP appointment that he had already arranged despite the fact he was clearly unwell, had signs of sepsis and the hospital policy advised for patients to contact them directly.
A settlement was reached on Paul’s behalf.
This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2023