An elderly man was admitted to hospital suffering from chest pains and dizziness. An ECG was performed and the assessing doctor, of a junior position, diagnosed partial heart block and a suitable treatment plan was implemented.
Unfortunately, the junior doctor’s interpretation of the patient’s ECG was incorrect. The patient’s heart had, in fact, been in total heart block – essentially it was not beating in the correct way. Treatment should have been to insert a pacemaker.
Instead, the patient’s condition continued to deteriorate and a number of opportunities for more senior doctors to intervene were missed. The patient went into cardiac arrest three days after his admission and died.
The hospital admitted through an internal review that this patient’s treatment had been incorrect and that had his condition been diagnosed correctly he would have survived.
We successfully pursued a claim on behalf of the patient’s estate. Liability was admitted and we recovered £13,000 in compensation.