Mr Forbes had multiple health needs. He was taking long-term anti-depressant medication for depression and anxiety and was diagnosed with diabetes and a hiatus hernia. After having a valve replacement for aortic valve disease at a specialist Cardiothoracic Centre, he started to complain of chest pain, a racing heart and a burning sensation over his whole body. He went to A&E several times and was repeatedly admitted but his problems were considered to be psychiatric.
He continued to feel unwell, with flu-like symptoms and was readmitted to hospital several times but blood cultures weren’t performed on a number of occasions. It was later found that he had infective endocarditis – an infection affecting the heart valves which can cause serious complications if not treated quickly. He was treated with antibiotics but then had surgery to replace the aortic valve again but suffered a heart attack followed by multiple organ failure and was put on life support. He died the next day.
We pursued a claim on the basis that blood cultures should have been obtained earlier. If this had happened at that point, a diagnosis of infective endocarditis would have been made and Mr Forbes would then have been treated with antibiotics rather than having to undergo surgery.