Clinical Negligence

Compensation for loss of wife following failure to diagnose and treat fractured ribs

The clinical negligence team demonstrated their expertise when they recently recovered damages for the surviving husband of a lady who died after cardiac arrest following the development of a haemothorax due to fractured ribs. The case settled for an undisclosed award plus legal costs.

Jonathan Herbert acted for Mr R who lost his wife because doctors at Medway Maritime Hospital failed to organise X-rays which would have revealed fractured ribs and which would have resulted in appropriate management thereafter.

Mrs R became a patient at Medway Maritime Hospital at age 64 after injuring her knee in an accident. She was readmitted after surgery with a variety of symptoms consistent with a pulmonary embolism. In the early hours of one morning, she fell. The doctor in charge of her ward referred her for an X-ray, but the radiology department refused to X-ray her on the basis that she had been X-rayed as part of the management of her condition not long before. The following day, Mrs R underwent a procedure to her injured knee under general anaesthetic. In the early hours of the day after that, Mrs R’s condition deteriorated significantly and despite cardio pulmonary resuscitation, she died of cardiac arrest that morning.

The post mortem report noted that Mrs R’s death was not by natural causes and that she had suffered a haemothorax due to or as a consequence of fracture ribs.

The failure to take an X-ray was negligent

It was alleged on behalf of Mr R that either the referring doctor had failed to advise the radiologist of the fall, or that if he did, the radiologist had failed to consider it that it was appropriate to X-ray again under  those circumstances. It was alleged further that had the fractured ribs been diagnosed, that would have altered subsequent management and Mrs R’s deterioration and death would have been avoided.

Mr R instructed Jonathan Herbert to pursue a medical negligence claim against the hospital. As the case progressed, a number of concessions were made before settlement negotiations took place which concluded with a settlement for an undisclosed figure plus legal costs.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in medical negligence cases. If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case involving the loss of a loved one or you have a general query about medical negligence contact him on 01892 701226 in confidence.

Read more about our experience in cases involving inquests and fatal accidents.

We have one of the largest and most experienced specialist medical negligence teams in Southern England including London. Our team of highly experienced lawyers has the depth and range of expertise essential in this sensitive and often complex area of law. Our clinical negligence team is very proud to be ranked Number 1 in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners UK.

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