Compensation secured for man who suffered pulmonary embolism

Compensation has been secured for a man who suffered a deep vein thrombosis, followed by pulmonary embolism on each lung, after routine day case surgery for a hernia.

Medical negligence solicitor Henry Dyson represented Mr Spencer in his successful claim for compensation against Hillingdon Hospital.

Mr Spencer was admitted for a hernia procedure but said that he was not advised by hospital staff of the risk of thrombosis or embolism after the operation.

He was not made aware of the signs and symptoms of deep vein thrombosis, or the importance of seeking medical help.

Soon after the surgical procedure Mr Spencer experienced the classic symptoms of deep vein thrombosis when his calf muscle became swollen. He did not act on this painful sign as he did not realise how significant it was.

In his judgment, the Judge applied the recent Supreme Court case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board which ruled that a patient has a right to be told much more about the risks of treatment beforehand.

The judge said that doctors have a duty of care to tell patients about anything that the ordinary sensible patient “would be justifiably aggrieved not to have been told when fully appraised of its significance”.

The judge found that modern, safe and responsible medical practice should be to give a DVT warning to patients undergoing general anaesthetic for a routine hernia repair.

The judge found that while the risk was small that it was a precaution that would save lives.  The judge followed the Montgomery case and applied it to this case where he was given the advice after surgery and not before.

Henry Dyson, from the medical negligence team at Leigh Day, said:

“I am very pleased for Mr Spencer.  It is established that patients are told as much as they want to know before they undergo any sort of medical procedure.  It is just as important that patients are told what to look out for after an operation.”

“My client has been left having to take a powerful drug for the rest of his life which could have been avoided if he had been aware of the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis and had acted upon them.”