The Court of Protection & deputies

Man dies of heart attack after being discharged from hospital with chest pain

Jenny Waight, specialist clinical negligence acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out-of-court settlement of £500,000 on behalf of the widow and children of a 47 year old man who died of a heart attack following a failure by Medway Maritime Hospital to adequately investigate and treat chest pain.

The deceased attended A&E at Medway Maritime Hospital, having collapsed during a football match.  When he awoke, he felt pain in his chest.

A differential diagnosis was made of an acute coronary syndrome or pericarditis.  Blood tests revealed an elevated troponin level.  ECG and chest x-ray were normal.

The plan was for the deceased to be treated for an acute coronary syndrome and to be admitted for cardiology input.  However, on review by a different doctor, the diagnosis was downgraded and he was discharged with a plan to return one week later for ECG and repeat blood tests.

Over the next week, the deceased suffered intermittent chest pain.  He returned to hospital as instructed and advised of the ongoing chest pain.  An ECG was normal and the troponin level had reduced.  He was discharged and told that an outpatient exercise tolerant test would be arranged.

An appointment letter was received by the deceased for the exercise tolerance test which had been arranged for 6 weeks later.

In the meantime, the deceased continued to suffer chest pains more regularly.  He collapsed at home 6 days before the planned outpatient appointment.  He was taken to William Harvey Hospital and coronary angiography revealed severe proximal left anterior descending disease.  He passed away and the cause of death was noted as myocardial infarction and ischaemic heart disease.

The widow of the deceased instructed this firm to act.  An admission of liability and apology was secured from Medway NHS Foundation Trust who admitted that it was negligent to downgrade the diagnosis of acute coronary syndrome and that an angiogram followed by angioplasty and stenting should have taken place.  This would have avoided the fatal arrhythmia and the deceased would have had a normal life expectancy.

Settlement was achieved on behalf of the Estate and dependents of the deceased of £500,000.

Jenny Waight specialises in fatal accident cases.  If you would like to ask a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact Jenny at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701374 in confidence.

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