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Grandmother dies as a result of delayed DVT diagnosis just nine days after hospital admission

We recently represented the family of a young grandmother aged 61 who was admitted to her local hospital via ambulance complaining of a warm, swollen and painful knee.

Acutely aware of a family history of deaths due to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), medical staff were alerted to the fact by her family on the day of her admission.

Medical staff however, failed to note this or carry out the appropriate tests or start the appropriate treatment. An MRI scan was requested the next day, however, it was not viewed to be urgent so this did not take place.

Two days following her admission her left leg was swollen from the knee down and her foot had turned blue. An MRI scan was carried out on the following day but the presence of deep vein thrombosis was not reported by the radiologist.

A member of the medical team reviewed her swollen leg on day four and advised that there was no sign of DVT but medication and a further scan were planned as the swelling was not improving.

On her sixth day in hospital an urgent scan and a blood test were requested in order to exclude the presence of deep vein thrombosis.

On day seven, the scan revealed that she had blood clots in her leg and medical staff planned to increase her medication and prescribed warfarin in addition to this to alleviate the condition.

Our investigations discovered that the hospital staff only recorded the family history of DVT at this point, some seven days after being provided with the information by her family.

Her medical notes recorded that both her mother and grandmother had died as a result of pulmonary embolisms.

Sadly, despite increasing her dose of medication alongside giving her warfarin, she died just nine days after going into the hospital as a result of a pulmonary embolism.

Following her death, we were instructed by her family to investigate her medical treatment as they believed that her death was entirely preventable.

We found that the repeated delays and failure to diagnose DVT in a timely fashion, a condition that medical staff were made aware of on her first day in hospital, had led to her avoidable death.

Had the hospital correctly diagnosed DVT sooner and started the appropriate treatment, she would have survived.

We also found that the hospital had both breached its own guidelines, and failed to adhere to the guidelines provided to doctors by NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) stating that urgent scans must be performed within four hours.

In our client’s case, it didn’t take place until the following day.

Had the hospital involved correctly identified DVT and treated the condition appropriately, starting on any day from her first day of admission up until just two days before her death, she would have survived as the clot would not have developed to the point of blocking a blood vessel which led to her death.

We secured a six figure compensation settlement for her family.

If you have suffered a significant injury as a result of medical negligence, contact a member of our team for a free initial consultation on 0800 085 3295. Alternatively, contact us with details of your potential claim by email at

Download our step by step guide to pursuing a medical negligence claim guide
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