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Personal Injury

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Medical Negligence Court Cases

The claimant, the widow of the man who died, was suing the hospital concerned because of the medical negligence of the Doctor.

Generally you have to show that the doctor failed to act in a way that he should have done when compared to his peers. Here the man had died in August 2012 at the age of 76 from the effects of pulmonary hypertension. In 2007 he had sued the Doctor, who admitted medical negligence in that his failure to diagnose pulmonary embolism and to prescribe the appropriate treatment. The specialist medical negligence solicitor who acted for him claimed that, although the man might have died from pulmonary hypertension in any event, its onset had been accelerated and the rate of progression of the symptoms had been exacerbated. At that time, aged 71, it was claimed that B2's life expectancy would have been a further 13 years had he received appropriate treatment, with no significant reduction despite his pre-existing condition.

Medical evidence showed that the man was suffering from pulmonary hypertension in 2004. One of the characteristics of that condition was that once it had been established, it caused progressive damage to the remaining healthy blood vessels and led to a rapid decline. Given the stage at which the man’s disease had reached in 2007, although the provision of Warfarin might have prevented the development of further emboli, the pre-existing damage was such that it would not have had the same level of benefit on his overall condition. So here the medical negligence was the non-provision of Warfarin in 2007 which had accelerated the onset of the more severe symptoms associated with the man’s pre-existing condition by a period of about 12 months.

Compensation Awarded

The man had suffered significant distress and anxiety as a result of the impact of the delayed diagnosis on his health. His wife was awarded compensation in the sum of £8,500 for that distress. Further compensation of £11,800 was made for bereavement under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976. Although compensation for the recovery of funeral expenses were usually awarded it was not appropriate to make such an award in this case because of the acceleration of symptoms associated with a pre-existing condition by a relatively short period of time. Compensation was also paid for loss of earnings based on a period of five years and four months, in the sum of £2,000 and loss of DIY skills led to compensation of £2,500. No compensation was paid because of care, medical fees, accommodation or travel as there was no evidence that these had been increased as a result of the doctor’s negligence.