Case study: £40,000 settlement for delay in treatment for heart failure
Our clients got in touch with us following the sudden death of their father due to a hospital’s mismanagement of his illness.
Our clients’ father had a chest X-ray which showed he had minor cardiomegaly, otherwise known as an enlarged heart. He returned to his GP throughout the year complaining of the same symptoms and the GP made an urgent referral to the hospital cardiology department, telling him to call an ambulance if his symptoms worsened. Unfortunately, despite the urgent referral, our clients’ father did not receive an appointment.
The father later wrote to his GP stating that his cough was now more persistent, his breathing was substantially more difficult and that he was getting throbbing pains in his heart. He received an appointment from the hospital for a month’s time. As he was still feeling unwell, he requested an urgent referral to the rapid access chest pain clinic. His GP saw him at home and arranged an admission to an A&E, with the view that his heart was failing.
Our clients’ father was admitted to hospital, where various tests and scans were carried out and he was diagnosed with heart failure. He was discharged a couple of days later, with an appointment with the cardiology department for a week’s time.
When he was seen again by the cardiology team, the consultant cardiologist saw the seriousness of his condition and admitted him to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, the treatment our client’s father received came too late and he sadly passed away some days later from cardiomyopathy (the cause of his heart failure) and pneumonia, which he had contracted while in hospital.
On behalf of the gentleman’s family, we took legal action against the hospital to find out what went wrong with his treatment. The evidence we obtained from medical experts showed that the hospital should have kept our clients’ father in hospital the first time he was admitted, in order to monitor his condition, based on the abnormal results that his tests showed.
They were negligent in discharging him from hospital when they had evidence that suggested his condition was much more serious than their diagnosis.
We were able, with the help of independent experts, to find out what went wrong during this gentleman’s treatment and demonstrate this to the hospital who accepted that our clients’ father should not have been discharged. Whilst the hospital disputed that our clients’ father would have survived with earlier treatment, we negotiated an out-of-court settlement of £40,000 for his family who also received an apology for the error which had been made.