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Our medical negligence specialists have secured a £93,000 settlement for the widow and bereaved son of a man who died at just 58, after a series of GPs and healthcare specialists failed to properly diagnose his heart condition.
John first spoke to his GP about his chest pains in 2005, and then again in 2008. At the beginning of 2011 he noticed that the pains were much worse: the episodes lasted much longer, were much more frequent and even happened when he was resting.
After taking his own blood pressure and finding out it was a high 164/93 with a pulse of 97bpm, John called NHS Direct. They advised him to contact his GP urgently so John made an emergency appointment with one of his GPs for the following day.
Although he informed the GP of the chest pains he has been experiencing, the medical records suggest that she didn’t view his condition as serious and failed to treat him accordingly. Instead a blood pressure reading of 160/90 was recorded and John was booked in to see the nurse in the blood pressure clinic.
The day after John went to get a second opinion from another GP, who also didn’t think his condition was serious. He thought John was experiencing musculoskeletal chest pain and advised John to go swimming and take ibuprofen if the pain persisted.
Seven days later, on the 17th February 2011, John was seen by the nurse at the blood pressure clinic who performed blood tests and booked John in for an ECG.
A further seven days later, on the 24th, John was seen again by the first GP who performed and reviewed an ECG, diagnosed him with hypertensive disease and prescribed medication.
The following month, in the morning of the 17th March, John’s wife, Mary, found him unresponsive in bed. She called an ambulance and tried to resuscitate him. The first responders took over when they arrived but could not revive him and John was pronounced dead at the scene.
A post mortem was conducted and found that his cause of death was a heart attack brought on by coronary artery thrombosis and atheroma, something neither GP noticed. Mary got in touch with our specialised clinical negligence team and Georgie Cushing, one of the team’s solicitors, dealt with the case.
Georgie carried out a full investigation and obtained independent expert evidence that confirmed that two GPs failed to notice that John’s problem was cardiac in nature and failed to correctly refer him to the Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic as a result. The report confirmed that, if the correct referral had been made, John would not have died when he did.
After a letter of claim was sent to both GPs, one admitted a breach of duty but the other denied liability in full. Georgie then initiated court proceedings and was able to negotiate a financial settlement of £93,000 for John’s family. Thankfully the case was settled out of court and before the litigation had reached an advanced stage.
As well as getting Mary and her son the answers they deserved and a financial settlement, the case forced the GP practice to review its internal procedures around reviewing ECGs and resulted in further training for one of the Defendant GPs.
If you or a loved one has suffered from negligent GP care, our specialist solicitors may be able to help. See our medical negligence page to find our more.
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