01925 937070 
info@dsmlegal.co.uk 
Failure to warn patient of risks associated with surgery 
 
In a case that has recently been at the High Court the Claimant, Mr. Spencer, sued Hillingdon Hospital for compensation following an allegation of negligence against the hospital. 
 
The Claimant had been referred to the hospital by his GP and underwent a hernia operation on 1st February 2010.    The hospital warned him about the risks of possible bleeding and infection but did not warn him that a pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (DVT) was a risk; neither did they advise him to watch out for certain signs and symptoms. 
 
Shortly after being discharged from hospital the Claimant began to feel unwell.   His wife spoke to the hospital and he subsequently attended his GP practice and the hospital.  However, it was not until 23 April that Mr. Spencer mentioned in a call to his GP’s surgery that he had had calf pain two weeks previously.   Later that same day he was admitted to hospital with shortness of breath.  He was diagnosed as suffering from bilateral pulmonary emboli (ie blood clots in both lungs). 
 
He was treated for what is potentially a life-threatening condition and discharged from hospital four days later. 
 
Breach of Duty of Care 
 
Mr. Spencer brought a negligence claim against the hospital.  He told the Court that had he been warned of the signs and symptoms of pulmonary embolism he would have sought medical advice.  The Court accepted that he did not make the connection between the pains in his calf with the operation and simply put it down to being laid up after surgery. 
 
The Judge considered that modern, safe and responsible medical practice should be to advise patients undergoing general anaesthetic about the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism.   He therefore found the Defendant in breach of its duty of care towards Mr. Spencer. 
 
Damages were agreed at £17,500.00. 
 
If you believe you have been the victim of medical negligence email rachel.taylor@dsmlegal.co.uk or telephone 01925 937070 for free expert advice 
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