Mother describes ‘distress’ of misdiagnosis as figures reveal Ipswich and Colchester hospitals’ £3.5m compensation bill

Colchester General Hospital. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Colchester General Hospital. Picture: LUCY TAYLOR

Bungled diagnoses have resulted in pay outs of £3.5 million from two of the region’s hospitals, it has been revealed.

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: PHIL MORLEY

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: PHIL MORLEY - Credit: Archant

During the last three financial years, Ipswich Hospital forked out £1.3m and Colchester Hospital paid £2.2m in damages and court costs during 33 compensation claims brought against them by patients who received a wrong or delayed diagnosis.

Tina Ashford, from Sudbourne, has spoken about the “distress” a mistake like this can cause a family.

Her son, Scott Hawksworth, who died of motoneurone disease in March aged just 18, was first misdiagnosed with multifocal motor neuropathy.

Unlike motoneurone disease, multifocal motor neuropathy is not fatal and can be managed.

Scott Hawksworth. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY

Scott Hawksworth. Picture: CONTRIBUTED BY FAMILY - Credit: Archant

This error led to a 16-week delay in Scott going through the next round of tests that confirmed his true diagnosis, and in the meantime the teenager was given unnecessary treatment and was not able to receive the support and equipment he needed to make his life easier.

Miss Ashford said: “He had unnecessary suffering, trying treatment which he found terrible. He wasn’t very good at giving blood, so it was quite horrible for Scott. So he had a lot of distress going through the misdiagnosis. It’s very distressing on the whole.”

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Scott was only diagnosed with motoneurone disease after Miss Ashford insisted on getting a second opinion from a specialist in London.

She added: “I knew from the start it was motoneurone disease and I said is it that and he [the doctor] assured me it wasn’t.

“It’s frustrating and I told him a mother’s instinct is a very strong weapon. It didn’t matter what he said I knew that wasn’t right.

“The thing that sits in my mind about the misdiagnosis was the 16-week wait and seeing my son going from walking with my help very unsteady, to going into a wheelchair, and having unnecessary treatment which he didn’t need to have.”

Miss Ashford has not lodged a compensation claim.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich and Colchester hospitals said: “It is very important to us to put things right when we get it wrong.

“We work hard to resolve any clinical negligence claims in a timely way.

“The number of claims will vary from year to year as some may date back several years.”

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