Delayed treatment of aortic stenosis – £250,000

When he was 37, Archie Williams was diagnosed with an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly), a calcified aortic valve and severe narrowing of the aortic valve. He was referred by the cardiology team at the hospital for emergency surgery. However, his treatment was then delayed for several months, pending further investigations. He died of a fatal heart attack whilst on a waiting list for surgery.

We helped Archie’s family make a successful claim that, if his surgery had taken place urgently, as originally recommended, he would have survived.

To find out more about this case please see below –


The Claim: Gillian Gadsby, specialist medical negligence solicitor, helped Archie’s family make a successful claim that his aortic valve disease was negligently monitored, thus leading to a delay in him being referred for surgery. If he had been referred for urgent surgery shortly after he was recalled to hospital, he would have survived.

Result: Proceedings were issued and the claim was settled following the service of the Defence. The Trust had initially denied both liability and causation but eventually admitted some breaches of duty. The family agreed to accept £250,000 in compensation.

Compensation awarded: £250,000 (General Damages £5,000 + Special Damages £233,200 + Bereavement Award £11,800)


Case Summary:

When he was 5, Archie Williams was diagnosed with a heart murmur due to mild aortic valve disease. He was followed up intermittently until he was 16 years old, before being discharged.


When he was 37, Archie began to experience episodes of shortness of breath and chest pain. One night, he woke up with chest pain and difficulty in breathing and so went to A & E where he had a number of chest x-rays and ECGs. These revealed he now suffered from cardiomegaly (an enlarged heart), together with a heavily calcified aortic valve and severe aortic stenosis (a narrowing of the aortic valve).


A couple of days later, the cardiology team contacted him to explain that they wished to carry out emergency valve surgery and so he went back to the hospital. However, the doctor who saw him said that she did not know why he had returned and he was advised to go home and await an appointment for further investigations.


About 7 or 8 weeks later, Archie had a cardiac catheterisation, a procedure involving inserting a thin tube through a blood vessel to the heart, often used to diagnose and treat heart conditions. However, there were difficulties with the procedure so he was referred to another consultant radiologist for a coronary angiogram and this was performed a week later. Archie was then referred to a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at another hospital.


Archie saw the cardiothoracic surgeon at the beginning of October and was put on a waiting list for surgery to replace the aortic valve and the ascending aorta. Two weeks later he developed a cough and breathlessness. Five days later, he suffered a cardiac arrest and was admitted to hospital. Resuscitation was unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead. A post mortem examination revealed the cause of death as aortic stenosis.


Posted in Delayed treatment