Temporal Arteritis Compensation Claims

If you have developed temporal arteritis (TA) and it has been misdiagnosed or treated incorrectly, affecting your health as a result, you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

The leading clinical negligence team at JMW is here to help you understand your options and, if it’s the right option for you, assist you in retrieving the compensation you deserve. We have many years of experience working alongside people in the same situation as you and our rate of success, expertise and approach to our work means our team is renowned throughout the UK.

If you or your family have been affected by temporal arteritis and it has not been dealt with properly by your doctor, contact us on 0800 054 6512 or fill in our online enquiry form for a free, no-obligation conversation.

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Temporal Arteritis Explained

Temporal Arteritis (also known as Giant Cell Arteritis) is a relatively uncommon condition where the medium-sized blood vessels around the head and scalp become inflamed. The temporal arteries, found on either side of the forehead, are particularly affected and often become very prominent.

The cause of the condition is not known, but it is thought to be an autoimmune reaction where the body attacks its own blood vessels.

In order to confirm a diagnosis of TA certain tests may be performed. These include a recording of the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), which is the rate at which red blood cells sediment in an hour. This helps to test inflammation in the body. In addition, a biopsy of the swollen temporal arteries is often performed.

Sometimes TA is related to other rheumatological conditions, most commonly polymyalgia rheumatica, which is a condition affecting the shoulders and hip joints.

Who Is At Risk?

According to the NHS, approximately 1 in 4,500 people develop the condition every year.

Most people who get TA are over the age of 55 and it is most common in the over-75s.

In addition, it is three times more common in women than men and seven times more common in caucasians than those of other ethnic origins.

Symptoms of TA

TA causes the inflamed blood vessels to become narrowed, resulting in reduced blood flow and the symptoms typically associated with the condition.

These include:

  • A severe headache on one or both sides of the forehead
  • Pain in the sides of the face, made worse by chewing
  • Scalp tenderness, most apparent when brushing or combing the hair
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Generally feeling unwell

The inflammation can sometimes also affect the blood vessels in the eye’s optic nerve, resulting in varying degrees of loss of vision that, if not treated quickly, can become permanent.

TA is initially treated with high doses of steroids and most symptoms start to improve within a day. The dose of steroids is then gradually reduced to a maintenance dose that has to be continued for many years.

Why Choose JMW?

Led by nationally renowned solicitor Eddie Jones, our clinical negligence team offers the experience and expertise necessary to secure a positive result for you, in what can be a very complicated area of law.

Our team includes members of the Law Society's specialist panel for clinical negligence, as well as the Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) solicitors' panel. Accreditations like these mean you can rest assured we have the skills required to help you claim the compensation you deserve.

JMW offers free initial advice on making claims for negligence. If you believe that you or any member of your family have a potential claim, let us assess your case without any initial cost or obligation. We are also able to deal with cases using a no win, no fee agreement in appropriate cases.

Case Study

  1. Failure to diagnose temporal arteritis - £30,000

    Edwina, 56, permanently lost virtually all vision in her right eye after a GP failed to recognise that she could be suffering from temporal arteritis and send her for the appropriate blood tests. This was despite the fact that she had classic signs and was in the age category most commonly affected.  

    Temporal arteritis (also known as giant cell arteritis) is a condition that causes swelling on the inside of some blood vessels, commonly those around the head and neck area. It is recognised as ophthalmic emergency as it can cause lost vision and patients can deteriorate quickly.

    However the condition is treatable and if the patient receives the right medication in time their vision can be saved. 

    Warning signs

    Edwina’s first symptom was pain in her biceps, which a couple of months later had spread to her left shoulder. She went to see her GP who gave her cortisone injections for her left shoulder and referred her for physiotherapy. 

    Three months later Edwina’s left shoulder pain moved across her back and up the back of her head and was causing her to suffer headaches. A few weeks later Edwina’s symptoms had become more severe and she developed scalp tenderness and jaw pain. Due to this pain she was struggling to comb her hair and eating was also problematic.

    As Edwina had an appointment booked in two weeks with her GP to review some on-going medication she was taking she decided to wait for this appointment to discuss her new symptoms.

    Edwina saw the same GP who had first assessed her and described all of her new symptoms. The GP suggested that the pains in her head and jaw could be due to a trapped nerve close by to her problematic shoulder. The GP prescribed medication to calm the nerve ending however the medication had no impact whatsoever.

    Delayed diagnosis 

    The next month Edwina began to experience problems with her vision, which started with blurring in the bottom of her right eye. The next day the blurring had reached just over two thirds of her eye so she made an appointment with the doctors’ surgery and this time was seen by a different GP. Edwina described her other symptoms of pain in her head and jaw and asked if this could be connected to her visual disturbances. The doctor said they were not related and told Edwina to see her optician at some point but gave the impression that there was nothing to worry about.

    Two days later Edwina’s right eye was completely blurred and she had lost all vision in it. She called the opticians to obtain an appointment who on hearing her symptoms advised her to go straight to A&E. Edwina did as they advised and after arriving at hospital was assessed by a specialist eye doctor within half an hour, who correctly diagnosed temporal arteritis.

    The doctor began treatment right away however it was now too late to save the vision in her right eye. To preserve the vision in her left eye Edwina was told she would need to take steroids for two years. 

    Compensation secured 

    Edwina felt that something had gone wrong with her treatment and contacted the specialist solicitors at JMW for advice. Her case was taken on by Katie Nolan, who specialises in cases involving lost vision. Katie found it was negligent of the GP not to have considered a diagnosis of temporal arteritis given her symptoms. Katie also found it was negligent of the doctor not to send Edwina for the appropriate blood test, thus delaying her treatment.

    The case was successful and Edwina was awarded £30,000 in compensation to help her to cope with her limited vision. 

    Warning signs

    Edwina’s first symptom was pain in her biceps, which a couple of months later had spread to her left shoulder. She went to see her GP who gave her cortisone injections for her left shoulder and referred her for physiotherapy. 

    Three months later Edwina’s left shoulder pain moved across her back and up the back of her head and was causing her to suffer headaches. A few weeks later Edwina’s symptoms had become more severe and she developed scalp tenderness and jaw pain. Due to this pain she was struggling to comb her hair and eating was also problematic.

    As Edwina had an appointment booked in two weeks with her GP to review some on-going medication she was taking she decided to wait for this appointment to discuss her new symptoms.

    Edwina saw the same GP who had first assessed her and described all of her new symptoms. The GP suggested that the pains in her head and jaw could be due to a trapped nerve close by to her problematic shoulder. The GP prescribed medication to calm the nerve ending however the medication had no impact whatsoever.

    Delayed diagnosis 

    The next month Edwina began to experience problems with her vision, which started with blurring in the bottom of her right eye. The next day the blurring had reached just over two thirds of her eye so she made an appointment with the doctors’ surgery and this time was seen by a different GP. Edwina described her other symptoms of pain in her head and jaw and asked if this could be connected to her visual disturbances. The doctor said they were not related and told Edwina to see her optician at some point but gave the impression that there was nothing to worry about.

    Two days later Edwina’s right eye was completely blurred and she had lost all vision in it. She called the opticians to obtain an appointment who on hearing her symptoms advised her to go straight to A&E. Edwina did as they advised and after arriving at hospital was assessed by a specialist eye doctor within half an hour, who correctly diagnosed temporal arteritis.

    The doctor began treatment right away however it was now too late to save the vision in her right eye. To preserve the vision in her left eye Edwina was told she would need to take steroids for two years. 

    Compensation secured 

    Edwina felt that something had gone wrong with her treatment and contacted the specialist solicitors at JMW for advice. Her case was taken on by Katie Nolan, who specialises in cases involving lost vision. Katie found it was negligent of the GP not to have considered a diagnosis of temporal arteritis given her symptoms. Katie also found it was negligent of the doctor not to send Edwina for the appropriate blood test, thus delaying her treatment.

    The case was successful and Edwina was awarded £30,000 in compensation to help her to cope with her limited vision. 

  2. Grandfather loses sight due to poor hospital care - £750,000

    Grandfather Andrew was left devastated after a catalogue of errors and poor care by hospital staff allowed an eyesight condition to deteriorate to such a point that he was left completely blind. Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW, took on his case and secured an admission of negligence from the hospital trust and £750,000 in compensation for Andrew.

    Andrew had previously suffered a detached retina so when he began to have double vision he attended the A&E department of his local hospital as he was concerned that he may need urgent treatment. He was given a brief assessment by a nurse practioner who advised that no one from the eye clinic was available due to it being a weekend and to come back on Monday. Andrew felt restless and not himself for the duration of the weekend and experienced some visual disturbances.

    At the eye clinic on Monday Andrew was assessed by a doctor who asked if he was experiencing a list of symptoms, including tingling on his scalp. Andrew had nearly all of the symptoms mentioned but no names of conditions were mentioned to him. Blood tests were taken and Andrew was advised that if they showed anything of concern the Dr would call him. 

    Two days later, while Andrew’s wife was in London, the doctor called and told him to come to hospital as soon as possible. Andrew explained that as his wife was away he did not have any way of getting to hospital and asked if it would be OK for him to come the following morning. The doctor said that would be OK and at no point said to Andrew that he required urgent treatment or he was at risk of losing his sight.

    The following morning Andrew was seen by a different doctor who said he was 99 per cent sure he had temporal arteritis but that he would need to have a biopsy to confirm it later that day. The doctor also prescribed medication but gave no instructions about when to take it so it was 7pm that evening when Andrew had eaten that he took his first tablet. That night Andrew was very distressed, he couldn’t sleep and the next day felt his eyes were not good. 

    Andrew returned to the eye clinic where his eyes were tested. However Andrew was barely able to see the card. Andrew was told by doctors that they were now fighting to save his sight and this was the first time that anyone had mentioned to him the possibility that he might lose his vision. 

    Andrew was admitted to hospital and his wife brought his grandchildren to see him. However Andrew’s condition was deteriorating so rapidly that by the time they arrived he had gone completely blind and could not see them. Andrew’s sight was lost permanently and he has been left devastated by the fact that he will never see his family again.

    After contacting JMW Solicitors for advice, Andrew’s case was taken on by Eddie Jones. Eddie found the standard of care provided to Andrew was very poor and serious errors had been made. These included sending him home without adequate assessment of his condition and failing to recall him to hospital for urgent treatment following test results.

    The case was successful and although nothing can make up for Andrew’s lost sight, he was awarded £750,000 to help him to cope with the financial consequences of his new disability. 

  3. Failure to Diagnose Temporal Arteritis Leads to Vision Loss. Compensation: £30,000

    With JMW's help a woman has received £30,000 compensation after doctors failure to diagnose Temporal Arteritis led to him losing his vision.

    At the age of 79, Joan began to suffer from severe pounding headaches.  She saw her General Practitioner a month later.  She told her doctor about the headaches, that they were thumping in nature, they affected the top and sides of her head and they were associated with earache like symptoms.  The pain radiated down the neck.

    Her GP told Joan that her headaches were due to arthritis in her spine and prescribed Ibuprofen and Paracetamol or Co-codamol. Joan's headaches persisted and she became bedridden. 

    Condition repeatedly missed by GP

    A few days later her doctor visited Joan at home. She again described severe headaches particularly in the top of her head.  They remained thumping in nature and continued to affect the top and sides of her head.  Her scalp was extremely sensitive and tender to touch.  Combing her hair was painful.  The earache pain made eating and chewing painful and difficult. Her GP prescribed an anti-depressant Citalopram in addition to her Ibuprofen.

    Joan's headaches persisted and she developed earache and pain in her jaw when eating.  The medication gave her only temporary relief.

    Joan saw her doctor again 2 weeks later accompanied by her husband and again symptoms were related.  She had severe pounding headaches, they affected the top and side of her head, she had pain in her ears and jaw and eating remained painful and difficult.  The GP took blood samples and increased her Citalopram dosage.

    Joan’s headaches persisted and she continued to complain of pain and tenderness in her scalp, temples and ears.  She also became confused and her speech became slurred. Joan saw the doctor again and he noted that the blood test results showed that she was anaemic.  She was referred for a hospital appointment

    Joan’s headache got worse and became continuous, the tenderness extended over her skull, her earache pain was worse especially when she ate.  Her husband telephoned the hospital to hurry up the appointment.

    Eventual diagnosis but too late to prevent permanent damage

    A week later Joan woke up with impaired vision. She and her husband thought this was due to her anaemia and having lost faith in her GP decided to wait for the appointment at hospital.  Her vision deteriorated over the next few days.  When she had her hospital appointment she was examined thoroughly and admitted as an emergency.  She was diagnosed as having temporal arteritis and she was treated with steroids. The treatment came too late and Joan was left with impaired vision in one eye.

    Compensation

    Joan was represented by JMW’s expert solicitors and received £30,000 in compensation for her doctor’s negligence.

Talk to Us

To find out more information about making a claim for compensation, speak to our specialist solicitors today. Simply call 0800 054 6512 or fill in our online enquiry form, and we will call you back at a convenient time for you.



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