£75,000 Compensation for Family of Man Who Died During Heart Surgery

3rd January 2018 by

Healys Solicitors specialised medical negligence team has helped the family of a 71 year old man claim compensation after failure in surgery caused his death.

In November 1997 Mr F attended his local hospital and was diagnosed with angina.  An angiogram was performed which revealed severe coronary disease with a critical main stem component.

Mr F returned to the hospital on 8th December 1997 where he was given two grafts to rectify the problem.  The operation went without any problems and Mr F made a good recovery.

On the 19 January 2005 Mr F attended his local accident and emergency department with another angina episode.  He was diagnosed with a small myocardial infarct and treated appropriately.

Mr F underwent further tests on 25 January and was transferred to another hospital on the 1 February to undergo a coronary angiography.  On the 3 February he underwent the test where the two previous graphs were shown to be good quality but a tight narrowing was noted in one of the blood vessels.  Surgery was booked later that day and Mr F underwent an angioplasty.

As he underwent the surgery the doctors noticed a large air embolus which caused Mr F to go into asystolic arrest.  The doctors tried for 40 minutes to resuscitate Mr F but he was unfortunately pronounced dead in the early hours of 4 February. The hospital tried to suggest to Mr F’s family that there had been “a technical failure” in the equipment.

The outcome of the case

Mr F’s family decided to contact Healys Solicitors’ specialised medical negligence team and one of our experienced partners, Jonathan Austen-Jones, was able to deal with their claim.  With Jonathan’s help, expert medical evidence was secured which advised that a “technical equipment failure” was highly unlikely to have caused Mr F’s death. A far more likely cause of his death was a massive air embolism (air bubble) into his coronary artery as a result of human error.

With this evidence the hospital eventually accepted responsibility for Mr F’s death and Jonathan was able to secure Mr F’s family £75,000 in compensation in an out of court settlement.