Fokhor Chowdhury was aged 52 when he died at home on 23 January 2012. He is survived by his wife and 4 children, the youngest of whom was only 5 at the time of his death.
On the evening of Saturday 21 January 2012, Fokhor collapsed at home with breathlessness and abdominal pain. His family dialled 999 and called for an ambulance. A 'Single Responder' paramedic attended, followed by an ambulance crew. They assessed Fokhor for an hour before advising him that his symptoms were secondary to gastric problems and he did not need to attend hospital. He was advised to take Gaviscon and attend his GP after the weekend if he needed to. He died in his living room 36 hours later.
The death was reported to the Coroner, who instructed a post mortem examination to be done. This identified that Fokhor had died from a heart attack.
His devastated family raised a complaint at his treatment, and the Trust completed an internal investigation. This was critical of the treatment Fokhor had received by the paramedics who attended.
Arti Shah investigated a claim of medical negligence on behalf of the family, alleging:
- There had been a failure to carry out and document a more detailed assessment when the paramedics attended on 21 January 2012
- They should have taken him to hospital for treatment
- If he had been taken to hospital, a myocardial infarction (heart attack) would have been diagnosed, and he would have received treatment for the same (angioplasty)
- On the balance of probabilities, he would have survived the cardiac arrest and been discharged home
The Defendant admitted breach of duty and causation.
Proceedings were issued on 12 February 2016. Expert evidence was obtained and exchanged on life expectancy. Following lengthy negotiations, a claim was settled for a six figure sum.
An Approval Hearing was held in March 2017 to formalise part of the payment made on behalf of his youngest daughter, who is now still only aged 9.
After successfully concluding the case on behalf of Fokhor's family, Arti said
"This was the first time Mr Chowdhury had called an ambulance, and he put his faith in the paramedics who attended. They not only carried out an inadequate assessment, but dismissed his concerns to the extent that he was reluctant to call for help again when his symptoms persisted. His death could have been avoided if they had taken him to hospital, and he would still be here with his family today."
This case was featured in the Evening Standard - https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/payout-for-widow-whose-husband-died-of-heart-attack-and-was-told-to-take-gaviscon-a3509786.html