£31,000 recovered for failure to prevent a DVT

Our client, then a 32 year old woman, underwent an operation at the Kent & Canterbury Hospital in December 2007 without being given any adequate pre- or post-operative thromboprophylaxis treatment (i.e. anticoagulant medication such as Clexane or Warfarin).

She ought to have been categorised as having a moderate risk of developing a DVT during surgery as she satisfied two specific risk factors – she was a smoker, and she was taking an oral contraceptive pill (Dianette). However, due to an administrative error which resulted in her Dianette being over-looked during the risk assessment, our client was instead categorised as having only a low risk of developing a DVT.

As a direct consequence of that error, she was not provided with any anticoagulant medication (which she would have been provided with had she been correctly categorised as having a moderate risk) and, post-operatively, she went on to develop a DVT.

That DVT caused significant pain over the Christmas period before being diagnosed, and resulted in a 3 month course of Warfarin treatment which, thankfully, dispersed the DVT, but left her with a slightly swollen calf.

Our client was also caused a psychological injury as a result of the DVT.

The East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust admitted breaching their duty of care to our client, and settlement was eventually reached in the sum of £31,000 on a full and final basis – there was a suggestion from our expert that our client was at a very small (less than 1%) risk of suffering complications in the future, but she decided that she would rather conclude the claim now.

Alex Tengroth, who had conduct of the case, commented:

“This was a case which resulted from administrative error, and which could so easily have been avoided had sufficient care been taken by the nursing and medical staff.

Despite our client notifying the nursing staff about her Dianette prescription upon admission, and even despite her having the prescription with her (and continuing to take it) while she was in hospital, it was missed during the crucial risk assessment.

Thankfully, the DVT did not cause substantial injury, it was diagnosed and treated quickly, and the residual problems experienced by my client are fairly minor.”