In May 1995 Geraldine suffered a hard attack during a trip to Portugal. She was 57 at the time and when she returned home she was seen at Kings College Hospital where she had an angioplasty (a technique used to widen a narrowed/blocked blood vessel).
She had a repeat angioplasty in January 1996 but during this procedure Geraldine's left diagonal artery was ruptured which caused fluid to accumulate around her heart. She had to have emergency by-pass surgery immediately to save her life.
Geraldine had been awake during the angioplasty and was terrified as events unfolded and she thought she was going to die.
During the bypass surgery Geraldine also went into cardiac arrest and as a result she suffered damage to her heart. She now has a reduced life expectancy and she also suffers from depression. She was also left with scars on both legs where the surgeon had to harvest a vein for the bypass surgery and an 8 inch scar on her chest from the surgery which required treatment with silicon sheet and steroid injections.
As a result of the damage to her heart Geraldnine now suffers with shortness of breath, fatigue and light headedness as well as an unstable angina. Her angina is considerably worse than it was before the procedure.
Geraldine instructed us to pursue a cardiac negligence case on her behalf. Investigating the claim was made difficult as the hospital had lost a lot of Geraldine's medical notes.
The evidence available showed that a 4mm balloon had been used at angioplasty which our expert advised was too big. Proceedings were issued on this basis in January 1999.
The hospital served additional documentation and a defence maintaining that a 3mm balloon had been used and that this was an acceptable size. This documentation also revealed that the artery had ruptured in two sites and our expert felt the damage done was unusually extensive.
Following a review of the original cine film of the angiogram procedure, our expert advised that although a 3mm balloon may have been an acceptable choice for dilation of the left anterior descending artery, it was too large for the diagonal vessel and a 2mm balloon should have been used instead.
Geraldine had been in the process of setting up a B&B business in Portugal with her husband and they abandoned these plans after the angioplasty.
Geraldine had planned to spend half the year in Portugal running the B&B business with her husband and the rest of the year in the UK doing temporary secretarial work. She had not been in employment for a number of years prior to the negligence. The defendant disputed our claim for loss of earnings and alleged that Geraldine's underlying heart condition was such that her physical capabilities would have deteriorated anyway and she wouldn't have been able to work.
At exchange of expert evidence the hospital informed us that it was not intending to serve any evidence and in January 2000, the defendants made an offer of £140,000.
After negotiation, the offer was increased to £150,000 which Geraldine accepted. The compensation included £45,000 for general damages.
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