DG (Dec’d) –v- Weston Area Health NHS Trust – case report
Katie Nairne, clinical negligence Associate at Davies and Partners Solicitors Bristol, has recently negotiated settlement of a complex claim relating to hospital failure to diagnose and treat a pulmonary embolism (blood clot on the lung).
The Deceased was a 74 year old man who had previously been very fit and active. He had returned from a trip abroad, complaining of a pain in his leg and feeling faint. His GP referred him to hospital for tests, suspecting there might be a problem with his heart.
Southmead Hospital Bristol carried out a treadmill stress-test and angiogram, which ruled out any blockages or cardiac problems. Mr G’s symptoms persisted however, and he collapsed one day whilst out walking his dog. He had been suffering increasing shortness of breath and fainting episodes.
He was admitted to Weston General Hospital, where he required oxygen and continued to feel very faint. Heart tests were again normal. Weston General did not consider any alternative diagnosis and did not investigate Mr G for blood clots. They discharged him with a diagnosis of “unexplained fainting episodes”.
Mr G was so concerned regarding his symptoms that he also sought a private Cardiology opinion from Dr Julian Strange at the Bristol Heart Institute. Dr Strange also failed to consider the possibility of a pulmonary embolism and did not investigate this potential diagnosis.
Several weeks later, Mr G suffered a cardiac arrest at home and sadly passed away.
The Parliamentary Health Service Ombudsman instigated a review of Weston General’s treatment of Mr G, and two independent experts were extremely critical of the hospital’s failure to test for blood clots.
Katie Nairne acted for Mr G’s widow in pursuing a medical negligence claim against Weston General Hospital for failing to carry out a CT pulmonary angiogram – a quick and easy scan which shows the arteries in and around the heart and lungs. Had the hospital carried out this test in Mr G’s case, the blood clot would have been diagnosed. Mr G would then have been given anticoagulant (blood thinning) medication which would have saved his life.
The claim was successfully concluded after a period of negotiation for the sum of £90,000.