We have recently concluded a long standing fatality case on behalf of an Ashford lady whose husband’s death in June 2003 was caused by failings on the part of the William Harvey Hospital Ashford.
Having previously been fit and healthy, the husband, Ken, suffered severe headaches and collapsed at his GP’s surgery on 7th May 2003.
He was admitted to the William Harvey where tests were commissioned, including an MRI head scan and visual field tests.
There was a failure to perform the scan urgently and the visual tests were overlooked completely.
When reported on 20th May 2003, the MRI was said to be normal and, on that basis, Ken was discharged, although still unwell, with a diagnosis of migraine.
In fact he had suffered a dissection of the vertebral artery.
Once back home, Ken deteriorated rapidly and was re-admitted to the William Harvey on 30th May 2003 when a CT scan showed the dissection.
By then it was too late to treat him successfully as a thrombus had formed and propagated to the basilar artery and he died shortly afterwards on 2nd June 2003.
In this case the East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust admitted liability for the failure to diagnose (including misreporting the MRI scan) but argued that an earlier diagnosis would have made no difference to the outcome.
Cerebro-vascular, Neuro-radiological and Haematology experts, instructed on behalf of the Claimant, argued otherwise.
It was their expert view that earlier diagnosis would have led to treatment with anticoagulants which would have prevented the propagation of the thrombus that eventually killed Ken.
With the case fully prepared for trial, a settlement was ultimately reached just a few weeks before a contested hearing was scheduled to start.
Nick Fairweather, who had conduct of the case throughout, commented:-
“This was a very sad case. Our client lost her husband at a relatively young age due to rudimentary errors.
Ken was a brave man who deserved better from the local health service at his time of need.
My client has been greatly affected by the loss of her husband, in such tragic circumstances.
No amount of compensation can ever bring him back but she feels vindicated by having taken these proceedings and secured the settlement that she did ultimately on Ken’s behalf.”