Waldrons Clinical Negligence Solicitors successful in recovering compensation for delays in treating hyperparathyroidism

Monday 21st March 2022

Adam Smith acted on behalf of a female client in relation to a clinical negligence claim against her GP for failing to refer her for surgery for hyperparathyroidism (a condition in which one or more of the parathyroid glands become overactive and release too much parathyroid hormone) which would have helped relieve her debilitating symptoms months earlier.

What happened?

In March 2016, our client was referred to the Endocrine Team at Worcester Royal Hospital for further advice, as a result of blood test results that revealed a raised calcium level. 

As our client at that time was noted to be asymptomatic, she was advised at that time she would not require any active treatment for hyperparathyroidism, but that her calcium should be checked on a yearly basis. A further blood test in February 2017 that showed the serum calcium level remained raised. 

Our client’s GP received a letter from the Endocrinology department of the hospital indicating that it would be reasonable for our client to be considered for surgery, but unfortunately the letter was not actioned and our client was unaware she could benefit from surgery at that time.

Unfortunately, our client’s condition changed, and she developed widespread musculoskeletal pain.  Her symptoms kept deteriorating and, by June 2017, she had to gradually give up exercise.  By December 2017 she was unable to go to the gym and do any exercise due to the severe pain and discomfort.  As her symptoms continued to deteriorate, she was unable to go for family walks and bike rides and was even unable to lift her daughter in and out of her cot.

She continued to suffer, complaining of ongoing pain, sufficient enough to wake her at night; particularly bony pains in the neck and clavicle that travelled down the right side of her body.   She was also noted to have pins and needles on the left side.

Finally, after many appointments, a referral was sent in April 2018 explaining that our client had a raised parathyroid hormone and that her serum calcium was raised.

It was recommended that our client undergo surgery and she was admitted in November 2018 and underwent a minimally invasive right upper parathyroidectomy, which was curative, immediately normalising her calcium and PTH levels.  The vast majority of symptoms were relieved by the surgery.

How were Waldrons able to help?

Adam Smith investigated this claim by obtaining supportive expert evidence from a GP expert and Consultant Endocrinologist.  It was the opinion of the GP expert that whoever received the correspondence from the Endocrinology department in March 2017 had a duty to act upon it, namely enquiring of our client as to whether or not she wished to be considered for surgery. It was the opinion of the expert that no responsible body of GP opinion could reasonably or logically support the failure to do so.

Further, that if so referred, then on the balance of probabilities, the major proportion of our client’s musculoskeletal aches and pains and fatigue, which impacted on her working life and home life in particular during 2017 and 2018, were directly attributable to untreated hyperparathyroidism and was inferred from her subsequent clinical response to curative parathyroidectomy.  Earlier surgery would have spared her months of pain and suffering.

In response to a Letter of Claim, the GP admitted liability and made an offer to settle the claim. Adam Smith negotiated the settlement on behalf of the client, which led both parties to agree to a settlement of the claim in the sum of £18,500.

What did our client say?

Happy with the result of his claim, our client wrote:

Adam was professional, patient and understanding. His communication was excellent, I was constantly made aware of the next stage of the process and my options. I felt confident that he was advocating for me in my best interest and am grateful for the service that I received.”

What do I need to do next?

If you have concerns about any medical treatment you have received, please contact one of the Medical Negligence Solicitors at Waldrons where we will provide an initial assessment of the claim free of charge.