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October 24th 2021

Medical Negligence

Hospital Trust agrees damages settlement after medication mistake led to patient suffering stroke

Gemma Bontoft

Gemma Bontoft

Litigation Executive, Clinical Negligence

Hospital Trust agrees damages settlement after medication mistake led to patient suffering stroke

A hospital trust has admitted twice failing an elderly patient by firstly making medication errors which led to him suffering a stroke and then failing to take measures to prevent him suffering a fall from which he broke his hip.

A hospital trust has admitted twice failing an elderly patient by firstly making medication errors which led to him suffering a stroke and then failing to take measures to prevent him suffering a fall from which he broke his hip.

The 84-year-old had been admitted to the hospital emergency department as he had blood in his urine and pain in the left groin. Doctors were aware he was already on blood-thinning medication due to having an irregular and often fast heartbeat, and having previously suffered a number of mini-strokes.

After two days in hospital, during which time he had an x-ray of his kidneys and been taken off his blood-thinning medication, he was discharged home as the bleeding had stopped.

This was before his x-ray results were known, with arrangements made for him to undergo a diagnostic cystoscopy as an outpatient, a procedure to examine inside the bladder using a small camera.

However, on discharge he was advised by the urologist not to restart taking his blood-thinning tablets until a cause for the bleeding had been identified.

Patient suffered stroke which could have been avoided with medication

A week later the man suffered a stroke, leaving him with a serious brain injury. He lost feeling and movement down his right hand side, and also lost the ability to speak.

In response to a legal claim made by Hudgell Solicitors, the Trust which runs the hospital admitted it had been a breach of its duty of care not to prescribe aspirin before discharging him home.

It admitted he should have been on the medication until the results of the cystoscopy were known, and that had this happened, he would probably not have suffered the stroke.

The man remained in hospital for close to four months before being discharged into the care of a community rehabilitation team, but was again admitted to hospital due to a urinary infection and suspected sepsis just weeks later.

During that stay in hospital he suffered a fall from which he fractured his hip, for which the Trust also accepted blame, admitting it had failed to put reasonable measures in place to prevent it happening.

Damages of £180,000 were secured for the man’s wife, following his death in October of last year.

Gemma Bontoft, Litigation Executive in the clinical negligence department at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “This was a very sad case in which the lives of this couple were forever damaged by the mistakes made. The stroke left our client’s husband seriously disabled and dependent on constant care from the point of his stroke onwards.

“It made for a very difficult and upsetting four years for my client, as her husband was no longer the man he was and she effectively became close to a full time carer, with her husband eventually needing to be in a bed downstairs at home.

“He needed numerous more hospital stays due to urinary infections and other issues, and at one stage needed to be in a care home due the demands of the care required for him at the time. His wife required respite care for her husband as the care requirements placed on her was so great over the four years.”

As part of the legal claim, damages were sought to compensate for the brain injury which was suffered, care and assistance, care home fees, loss of holidays which the couple had booked prior to his stroke and also equipment needed at home, including a zimmer frame, motorised wheelchair, beds, mattresses and clothing prior to his death.

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