£5,500 compensation for pain from delayed treatment

Delays in diagnosing and treating a pulmonary embolism in 2011 led to a clinical negligence compensation claim of £5,500 being awarded to a 46 year old man in 2013 for the severe and acute pain caused by the delay. 

Injury details

The man attended an accident and emergency department. He was suffering with right-sided chest pain, shortness of breath, a productive cough, and haemoptysis, following a three-day history of similar problems

He advised medical staff of his family history of pulmonary embolism and that he was concerned he may be suffering the same condition.

The hospital staff took a chest X-ray but did not carry out a formal risk assessment for pulmonary embolism. 

A misdiagnosis of chest infection was made.  The man was discharged and prescribed amoxicillin and co-codamol.

His symptoms worsened overnight. The next day he was seen by an out-of-hours GP who referred him to accident and emergency again. At A&E he was assessed as suffering from a suspected pulmonary embolism.

A necessary CT scan was delayed by 15 hours. The scan confirmed the pulmonary embolism, a collapsed lung and lung infarct with necrosis.

Following diagnosis the man was admitted as an in-patient, where he remained for 7 days.

Allegation

It was alleged that the accident and emergency department was negligent as proper examination and investigation had not taken place.

The formal risk assessment for pulmonary embolism was not carried out, delaying the diagnosis. Once diagnosed, the CT scan necessary for treating the condition was delayed. 

The delay caused the man to suffer unnecessary pain, as well as a shocking and potentially life-threatening experience. 

Following treatment, the man was left with a permanent shortness of breath indicating residual pulmonary impairment. He also needed to take a prescription drug, Warfarin, for the rest of his life.

Conclusion and settlement

Liability was admitted and the matter did not proceed to Court.

Compensation was accepted of £5,500 by way of an out of Court settlement.

£5,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity".

In addition £500 was awarded for care costs incurred after discharge from hospital.