Failure to diagnose tear in aorta leading to death £165,000

Tom Bailey was asleep in bed and was awakened during the early hours with severe chest pains that caused him to cry out and unable to move. The pain lessened and he began to suffer visual disturbance and numbness in his legs. His wife called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital, where he was diagnosed with gastroenteritis, a urinary tract infection and benign positional vertigo. He was prescribed antacids and anti-emetics and sent home with advice to return if his condition deteriorated.

Mr Bailey was taken to A&E by his wife a few hours later as he had continued to have pain in his chest and abdomen and had been sick twice. They were told that he had suspected appendicitis and he was admitted to hospital. Over the next four days, he underwent a number of tests under the care of the surgical team before being discharged home.

At home, Mr Bailey remained unwell, with nausea and pain in his chest and abdomen. A few days later, he suffered a cardiac arrest and was taken back to hospital where, after resuscitation failed, he died. He was 45. A post-mortem revealed that his heart muscle had become filled with blood (a condition known as haemopericardium), due to a tear in his aorta. This – an aortic dissection – had allowed blood from the aorta to leak into his heart muscle, making it unable to contract.

Mr Bailey had looked after their son (their only child) while his wife went out to work. Mrs Bailey approached Gadsby Wicks two years after his death to see if we could get answers to what had happened and to make a claim for compensation.

Gillian Gadsby, specialist medical negligence solicitor, made a claim on behalf of Mr Bailey’s family that the signs of his aortic dissection were missed during the investigations he underwent whilst in hospital. Due to this, the opportunity for surgery to treat him was lost and he subsequently died. Because of time limitations involved in bringing a medical negligence claim, there was no time for the Hospital to have the chance to admit liability and so Proceedings were issued.

The claim took 20 months before settling and Mrs Bailey accepted £165,000 in compensation.

Posted in Misdiagnosis claims