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Widow Receives Settlement After Negligent Prescription Of Warfarin

Our Medical Negligence team secured a five figure settlement for a woman whose husband died in hospital after being given a blood thinner in error.

Our client and her husband met in 2010 and married shortly afterwards. They lived on a farm and she described them both as "loving the house and our life". After her husband's death she was unable to keep the house and was forced to move.

In September 2013 our client's husband was admitted to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. During his stay, he was allowed to take the drug warfarin, an anti-coagulant that is often given to patients to stop clots forming.

In this case however, the decision to allow the dose of warfarin would prove fatal. Staff at the hospital failed to wait for blood test results and check the patient's INR results before going ahead.

International Normalised Ratio - or INR - is a recognised way of reporting results of blood coagulation tests, a particularly important factor if a blood thinner such as warfarin is going to be administered.

In the time following, staff failed to note the patient's elevated INR result in time to counteract it, before it was too late, and he passed away on the 13th September.

Our client was devastated, describing the loss of her husband's friendship, companionship and love, as "exceptionally difficult to come to terms with".

In November 2014 she contacted our expert Medical Negligence team and we began an investigation into her husband's death. Less than two years later, in April 2016, the Trust in charge of the hospital admitted breach of their duty of care and gave a full report of their own findings.

As well as the staff's failure to check our client's husband's test results before proceeding with such a potentially damaging drug, there was the delay at the laboratory itself in processing these results in the first place, meaning that staff didn't have the information they needed to hand. They were also slow to report the elevated INR result, which meant nothing could be done to counteract the effects of the drug in time.

In light of these findings, we invited the Trust to make an early admission of liability, which they did, accepting that the above failures caused the death of our client's husband. We secured an interim payment for our client.

She had previously worked for the same Trust, but after learning that it was these mistakes that led to the death of her husband, she found it too difficult to return to her job.

We were able to negotiate a five-figure settlement sum in December 2016.

Jade Elliott-Archer, a solicitor in our Medical Negligence team, said:

"This is a tragic case where our client's husband placed his faith in medical professionals to provide him with the best possible care. Unfortunately, fatal mistakes were made, and it's vital that the Trust learn from them to prevent this happening again."

If you or a loved one has suffered due to hospital negligence, our Medical Negligence solicitors may be able to help. Please see our Hospital Negligence page for more information.

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