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Widow of a 26-year-old man settles medical negligence claim following pulmonary hypertension death

Complications of pulmonary hypertension led to the death of a young man

Hospital bed

3 October 2019

The widow of a 26-year-old man, known only as Mr H to protect his family’s identity, has settled her medical negligence case for a six-figure sum. Mr H died at Barnet Hospital from the complications of pulmonary hypertension after suffering pulmonary embolism the previous year.  At the time of his death he was on the waiting list for assessment and corrective surgery.

Mrs H instructed medical negligence lawyer Kelly Lawford of law firm Leigh Day to bring a claim against The Royal Free London NHS Trust, the NHS Trust responsible for Barnet Hospital. 

Mr H unexpectedly suffered pulmonary embolism at the age of 25.  Later that year, he suffered DVT and was found to have a blood clotting disorder called anti-phospholipid syndrome. Several months after the pulmonary embolism, Mr H underwent two CT scans at Barnet Hospital over a period of weeks. These both showed continuing lung problems which were not picked up and acted on at the time.  

Mrs H argued that if the scans had been adequately reported and acted upon, Mr H would have undergone further investigations and been referred to a specialist centre for surgery. Mrs H argued that this would have prevented his death. Instead, he was eventually diagnosed as having pulmonary hypertension several months later.  He was subsequently referred to a specialist centre, but died before assessment for surgery could take place. His wife was pregnant at the time.

Early in the proceedings The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust admitted that there were negligent failings in the reporting of the two CT scans, but they denied that his death would have been avoided with appropriate treatment.  

Kelly Lawford, clinical negligence solicitor at Leigh Day, said:

“It is absolutely tragic that Mr H never got to have the surgery that would have saved his life and allowed him the chance to be a father to the child he never met and have the family he and Mrs H had always dreamed of.  Nothing can bring my client’s husband back, but lessons must be learned and procedures improved to ensure that the failings in the care Mr H received are never repeated.” 

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