We were instructed by Mr F who was 85 years old when he was admitted to the Whittington Hospital with acute kidney injury, hyperkalaemia, lactic acidosis and anaemia. He had abnormal arterial blood gas measurements, but these were not acted upon by a doctor until about four hours later. In the hospital’s subsequent Adverse Incident Report, it was accepted that as a result, the seriousness of his condition was unrecognised and no specific treatment was given before he was reviewed by the medical team.
When he finally was reviewed, the medical registrar did not involve the intensive therapy unit or call for senior help, resulting in further delay. Mr F was not reviewed again until 4.5 hours later. He then suffered a massive cardiac arrest nearly 10 hours after his initial presentation. He survived, but had a prolonged hospital admission, including a 22 day spell on ITU.
On returning to the ward, he developed acute pulmonary oedema secondary to left ventricular failure. His condition settled following the treatment but, 48 hours later, he developed a second episode.
Severely impaired left ventricular systolic function was noted and he was treated for an acute coronary syndrome.
He suffered delirium and developed hospital acquired pneumonia. He required an extensive hospital admission and was discharged home following a stay in rehabilitation, about three months after the cardiac arrest. He continued to live with his daughter and son-in-law who noted a profound change in his condition and he required supervision and support over the remaining three years of his life.
About 2.5 years after the cardiac arrest we were instructed and invited the defendant trust to make admissions in relation to both breach of duty and causation on the basis of the trust’s Adverse Incident Report. After some delays, the trust admitted that, had Mr F received appropriate treatment then on the balance of probabilities the cardiac arrest suffered would have been avoided.
The defendant averred, however, that any ongoing weakness was not a consequence of the cardiac arrest, but due to his underlying condition.
Unfortunately, shortly after the defendant’s admission, which was accompanied by an offer of £15,000, Mr F died. We were instructed by his estate and drafted witness statements explaining the profound change in his condition, attributable to the cardiac arrest and prolonged hospital stay. The parties then negotiated a settlement of £60,000 in respect of Mr F’s pain and suffering during his final three years together with claims for care and assistance provided by his son and daughter-in-law.
Oliver Chapman specialises in clinical negligence cases. If you would like to ask Oliver Chapman a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Oliver at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701234 in confidence.