A FATHER has accepted a six-figure settlement after doctors missed blood clots on his lung, meaning they were left undiagnosed for one year.
The unnamed man, in his 30s, underwent a scan at Nevill Hall Hospital in Abergavenny in January 2016, which showed he had blood clots on his lung - but this was not spotted by a consultant radiologist.
It was only when he returned to hospital 13 months later that he learned of the blood clots.
He was told that – without emergency surgery – he could have as little as three years to live and would leave behind his two-year-old daughter and his wife.
Following surgery and trialling a new medication his health has improved, and he has now been told he is likely to live into his 70s.
But he has significantly reduced breathing capacity, which has forced him to quit his career as a carpenter, and limited his ability to do chores, exercise, and play with his children.
A spokesman for Aneurin Bevan University Health Board said:
“It is not our policy to comment on individual cases, but our best wishes go to him.”
Timeline of events:
- The man suffered from pneumonia in 2015 – scarring was found on his lungs and believed to have been caused by a previous infection;
- In January 2016 he underwent a CT scan at Nevill Hall Hospital which showed blood clots on his lung – but this was incorrectly reported as showing “no significant abnormality” by a consultant radiologist;
- Another CT scan – in July 2016 – concluded there was “no significant change”;
- Six months later his GP referred him back to hospital and – in February 2017 – he was told there were blood clots on his lungs which were on previous scans.
“We’ve had some very difficult and worrying years,” he said.
“For someone who is still relatively young – with two young daughters – not being able to do the things I should be able to do with them because a mistake was made is hard to accept."
He added that he can only run for a couple of minutes before needing to sit and rest, with his daughters asking why he stops playing.
His wife does most of the housework and childcare, which used to be divided equally.
The couple "struggled with bills" when he was forced to quit his job, with the pair getting into debt, but he now works a less physically demanding job.
“I’m limited in all I do now and I have to try and come to terms with that,” he said.
“I have tried to make the best of it but life has totally changed for me, because I can’t enjoy the things I used to enjoy.
"I’m also aware of the strain it has put on my wife, who has her own demanding job.
“I find it hard to accept. This could have been avoided to some extent with earlier treatment. I would be a different husband and father."
He has now accepted a six-figure damages settlement after Helena Wood, of medical negligence specialists Hudgell Solicitors, led a compensation claim on his behalf against Aneurin Bevan University Health Board alleging a breach of duty of care.
Representatives for the health board accepted liability for the delayed diagnosis but initially offered a £10,000 settlement. The eventual settlement was more than 10 times this.
Ms Wood said:
“This was a very costly, basic error and one we see far too many examples of at hospitals across the UK.
“The failure to properly review scans can result in significant suffering and harm for patients.
“In this case the negligence caused a one-year delay in treatment, and a permanently increased respiratory disability.
“The impact of that delay was significant and it must have been terrifying for him to be told that without surgery he had as little as three more years to live.”
She added that she hopes the case leads to reviews into the process of reviewing CT scans and that the damages give the family a “more comfortable life moving forward.”