Patient suffers stroke after long-term medication is discontinued

3rd January 2018 by

Jonathan Austen-Jones was instructed to act on behalf of a 75 year old female in relation to her claim for medical negligence against the Hillingdon Hospital. Jonathan’s client suffered a devastating embolic stroke as a result of discontinuing her long term warfarin.

KW had been referred to a gastroenterologist at the Endoscopy Clinic at Hillingdon Hospital by her GP. A colonoscopy was arranged at the Hospital. Prior to the procedure her treating haematologist advised KW to stop her warfarin medication. KW had been taking warfarin because of longstanding atrial fibrillation. (This medication prevents thromboembolic complications of atrial fibrillation which include strokes).

KW also tripped over her left leg which had been affected by the stroke with foot drop resulting in a fracture to her hip.

It was argued by Jonathan and his legal team that KW was not given the opportunity to discuss the implications of stopping her warfarin. The decision to withdraw warfarin for her colonoscopy led to a very significant life changing disability.

We alleged that KW should have been offered a clinical appointment with a gastroenterologist rather than simply being put on a list for an invasive colonoscopic investigation, without the benefit of a clinic appointment. If that had occurred, KW could have discussed the option of further investigation which did not necessarily have to be with a colonoscopy. It would have allowed an informed discussion about the potential risk and benefits of further tests and the potential outcomes from withdrawing warfarin. The lack of doctor-patient interaction contributed to inadequate informed patient consent over this particular issue. It was KW’s case that had such discussion taken place, she would not have proceeded with the colonoscopy.

The Hospital initially denied negligence but after Jonathan started Court action, the Hospital changed its stance and agreed to settle KW’s claim for a high five figure sum.