Mrs W had just given birth and her husband EW came to take her and their baby daughter Georgina home. EW had a known heart condition and had previously been under the care of renowned cardiologist Dr Mohiddin, who famously treated Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba after he collapsed with a heart attack at White Hart Lane in March 2012.
An MRI scan in January 2011 had shown very poor heart function, with a severely dilated and poorly-functioning left ventricle and severe left atrial dilation. There was severe mitral regurgitation and evidence of scarring of the inferior wall of the left ventricle.
In April 2012, EW was advised by Dr Mohiddin at the then London Chest Hospital that his condition was serious enough to warrant having an ICD fitted (implantable cardioverter defibrillator) and that he would likely eventually need a heart transplant. Dr Mohiddin suggested a further appointment at the next available slot to decide a clinical plan, but, unfortunately, this appointment was never made.
Instead, EW was seen a month later by another doctor at Whipps Cross Hospital who overrode Dr Mohiddin's advice, instead suggesting that EW's heart might fix itself without medication and that cardiologists too often implanted ICD 'willy nilly'. Dr Mohiddin, who was senior to the second doctor, was unaware of this advice and there were no notes from the consultation.
Mrs W had a C-section on New Year's Eve 2012 and describes her husband as 'besotted' with Georgina. On Friday 4th January 2013, he arrived on the ward carrying a car seat, excited to be taking his family home. Mrs W remembers him being so sweaty that his shirt was wet while they waited to be discharged.
While she was still sitting on the bed and her husband was holding the baby, he suddenly slumped to the side making rattling noises. Mrs W shouted for help and a nurse rushed in to take the baby from his arms and began CPR. Tragically, staff could not save EW and he died.
Iona Meeres-Young pursued a negligence claim against Whipps Cross hospital in that EW's hypertrohic cardiomyopathy should have been treated in time and had that occurred, he would have lived longer and been able to provide for his family, albeit that he would have had a significantly impaired life expectancy and would not have been able to provide the same degree of care that a husband and father in reasonable health would otherwise have been able to provide.
Mrs W was left with PTSD and depression following her husband's death, including suffering flashbacks of seeing her husband die in front of her. Barts Health NHS Trust that runs Whipps Cross admitted negligence and agreed out-of-court damages.
Image credit: By Secretlondon [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], from Wikimedia Commons
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