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Doctors cannot be expected to be infallible, but it is only right that patients who suffer as a result of negligence on their part should be compensated.
In one case, a man who suffered a life-threatening blood clot in hospital has secured £200,000 in compensation from the NHS.
The patient had been receiving treatment for bladder cancer and had suffered acute abdominal pain after undergoing chemotherapy. He was largely immobilised by pain during the day before his admission to hospital. Whilst there, he suffered a blood clot – more formally known as an embolism – in his pulmonary artery, the vessel which carries blood from the heart to the lungs.
The High Court found that there had been a negligent failure to assess his condition in the light of risk factors, which included his prolonged period of immobility and the fact that his mother had died from a pulmonary embolism. His collapse would probably have been avoided had he been promptly treated with the blood-thinning drug, heparin.
The man's damages were agreed at £200,000.