FN, now 18, had right sided hearing loss which was missed in her 8-month hearing check. The health visitor performed an infant distraction hearing test without assistance from a second health visitor and FN’s parents recall that, although FN did not respond properly to the test on one side the test was not repeated and no follow up appointment was suggested.
FN was eventually diagnosed with significant hearing loss, with total absence of hearing on her right side, and some hearing loss on her left side. An assessment showed that she was significantly delayed in her speech and language development.
Proceedings were served in November 2017. FN alleged that the delay in diagnosing her hearing loss led to speech and language difficulties, behavioural issues, difficulties in her education and bullying.
Liability was denied in the Defence although it was admitted that, if the infant distraction test had been completed by only one health visitor, this would constitute a breach of duty. However, it was not admitted that assessing FN as having passed the test was a breach of duty. Causation of injury was admitted subject to breach of duty being proven, in that a failed test would have led to a referral to audiology for a further assessment, with a diagnosis of bilateral hearing loss and hearing aid fitting by 13 months of age. The Defendant admitted, subject to breach of duty being established, that FN had suffered some injury but the extent of her injuries was not agreed.
The Defendant invited us to enter judgment in FN’s favour in July 2018. The case settled for £232,500 before service of quantum evidence. A significant part of this claim was for future loss of earnings for FN.
FN’s parents said “Thank you, you will never know how grateful we are for all you and your team have done for this case. All your expert advice has led to a wonderful result for FN. You have pushed on, always looking for a way through when things were not straightforward.”
Dr Mala Sidebottom and Wallis Crockford worked on this case. Giles Mooney from 9 Gough Square was instructed to advise. Mala said “I am so pleased that we were able to achieve a good settlement for FN, which will hopefully help to remedy some of the difficulties she has had as a result of this delay in diagnosing her hearing loss and give her a better start to her adult life.”