Hudgell Solicitors has helped a mother secure compensation as she developed a blood clot on her lung after being sent home from hospital following surgery without blood thinning medication or compression stockings.
Tina Grace, 44, whose youngest child was two at the time, says she feared her children would be left motherless after suffering the potentially-deadly complication following a hysterectomy.
Three weeks after her operation, Miss Grace suffered a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in her leg which then travelled to her lung, causing a pulmonary embolism.
The condition is extremely serious as the clots can prevent blood from reaching the lungs, and it is estimated that around 25,000 people die in the UK each year from pulmonary embolisms.
The hospital which operated on Miss Grace, King’s Mill Hospital, in Nottinghamshire, has since admitted it should have prescribed anti-clotting medication and ordered her to wear compression stockings when she was discharged, but failed to do so.
Miss Grace was hospitalised for 11 days as a result and had to take blood-thinning drug Warfarin for six months after the clot, which she didn’t think she would survive.
Following legal representation, Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs King’s Mill Hospital, accepted Miss Grace should have been discharged with the medication and stockings, and that on the balance of probabilities, the pulmonary embolism would have been avoided if that had been the case.
Miss Grace has now accepted a settlement from the Trust to compensate for her suffering following representation from medical negligence specialist Hayley Collinson.
Mrs Collinson said: “As a result of the errors made, Miss Grace suffered a very serious life-threatening illness which could have been very easily avoided if she’d been discharged with the correct preventatives to ensure she wasn’t at risk of a DVT.
“This has been a harrowing experience, not only for Miss Grace, but also her family, and continues to have a detrimental effect on her life.
“We were pleased the Trust accepted that if she’d been given the relevant medication and stockings when she left the hospital, the pulmonary embolism was likely to have been avoided.
“This was a medical blunder which, given the nature of the complications caused, could have cost Miss Grace her life and left her children without their mother. Such errors simply cannot be excused.”
Speaking about the emergency, Miss Grace, from Kirkby-in-Ashfield, said: “I really felt like I could have died. I was terrified and it felt like every breath I took would be my last.
“When it happened I had been standing in the shower for an hour as I thought the steam might help my breathing. But then I got worse and my parents called an ambulance.
“It was a petrifying experience to go through as I have two children who don’t see their fathers, my parents are elderly and disabled, and I just kept thinking ‘who is going to look after them if I die?
“Now I can’t do the things I used to do, like gardening or going to the gym. I’ve gained a huge amount of weight and it has had an enormous impact on my life. Now, if I can’t catch my breath I am in a complete panic.”
Miss Grace had the hysterectomy on August 13, 2012, and was sent home five days afterwards.
She was very unwell and her parents, who questioned whether she should have been allowed out at the time, had to move in to care for her, and her two children, who were then aged 2 and 13.
But three weeks after the operation, Miss Grace suddenly became very breathless and unwell, with a burning sensation in her leg.
Her parents called an ambulance, and she was found to have had a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in her calf, which had broken up and travelled to her lung, causing the potentially-fatal blood clot.
Miss Grace had been at a high risk of developing a DVT as she had had major surgery, had been immobile for several days afterwards, and was classed as overweight.
Having brought a clinical negligence claim against the hospital through Hudgell Solicitors, the Trust admitted errors, and breach of duty by the nursing staff, as Miss Grace’ calls for help by pressing a bed calls bell after her operation also went unanswered.
As a result she was forced to climb over the bed railings to go to the toilet when nobody came to help her. This was accepted as a breach of duty by the trust.
Miss Grace added: “This has never been about the money for me. The NHS is supposed to be a service provider, and they should be accountable for their mistakes, as any other service provider would be.
“They didn’t show any compassion towards me and didn’t take any ownership of the mistake, or show any empathy. If they had, I wouldn’t have pursued a claim.”