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Clarke Willmott has recently concluded a case on behalf of the estate of RD (deceased)

RD was 62 years of age and retired when on 30 April 2017 he collapsed at home and was found unconscious on the kitchen floor by his wife, having suffered a significant bleed by mouth.

Following a tonic-clonic seizure, RD was then transferred by ambulance to University Hospital Southampton, with the paramedic crew provided advance warning to the hospital of the impending arrival of a patient with a serious upper gastrointestinal bleed.

RD arrived at the hospital at 15:35, where it was noted that RD had suffered gastric varices in the past which had been successfully banded two years previously.

RD underwent triage at 15:46 but was not seen by a doctor until 16:00, where the working diagnosis of RD’s condition was identified as a variceal bleed. At this time the adult gastrointestinal bleed protocol from the hospital was not initiated.

RD was reviewed at 18:00 and again 19:30. He was noted to have deteriorated by 20:00 which resulted in a blood transfusion at 22:22. Further observation at 00:30 indicated profound hypotension, with a plan to continue with blood transfusion and observation.

By 02:40 on 1 May, RD’s blood pressure remained low and it was evident that there had been no diminution of the bleed.

It was not until 04:41 that RD was transferred to theatre for an emergency gastroscopy. The procedure was complex and there was considerable difficulty in stabilising his condition, with RD noted to have suffered massive bleeding. At 07:15, RD was transferred from theatre to the Intensive Care Unit for ongoing management and treatment.

Consent was obtained from the next of kin to carry out a TIPSS procedure to reduce portal hypertension and its complications, specifically for RD’s variceal bleeding.

On 2 May at 9:30, it was confirmed that RD’s bleeding had stopped. Approximately two weeks later, RD’s family were informed that RD was diagnosed with a hypoxic brain injury, leaving RD with permanent complex and unpredictable care needs, giving rise to a requirement for 24-hour care by a trained and experienced team of carers.

RD was eventually transferred to Rehabilitation Unit where he remained until 25 June. RD was later moved to a Nursing home where he remained a permanent resident until his death on 21 May 2020.

It was the Claimant’s case that RD’s untimely death was the result of negligence and a claim was brought by RD’s wife on behalf of his estate. Clarke Willmott instructed a number of well recognised experts to assist with this case including an A&E expert, a radiologist, a gastroenterologist, and a neurologist. In addition, we had support from counsel, Rachel Vickers (now Rachel Vickers QC) from Outer Temple Chambers.

Damages were eventually agreed at £150,000 although unfortunately by the time the case settled, RD had passed away. RD’s post injury care costs to the date of his death, although in a private facility, were met in full by the state, giving rise to a minimal past care claim.


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