Mr A was left a widower, and single parent of two small children aged 3 and a half and 5 days, after doctors failed to diagnose and treat his wife’s aortic dissection.
Mrs C was taken by ambulance to the Peterborough District Hospital A&E department with pain in her neck and chest, and shortness of breath, just two days after giving birth.
Mrs C was seen by a Doctor who discussed her case with a registrar – who never saw Mrs C. The Doctor told Mrs C she could go home as it was probably just a normal pain and that she was experiencing a panic attack.
Two days later Mrs C collapsed and died at her home, aged 41.
The post-mortem examination found that her death was caused by a massive tear in her aorta (the main artery in the human body) and a haemorrhage in her heart.
Pryers were instructed to investigate the case and found that the care provided to Mrs C when she attended hospital was substandard.
The Confidential Enquiry in Maternal and Child Health (CEMACH) says that women who have recently given birth, who have chest pains must be referred back to the obstetric team for further investigations.
Had the Dr diagnosed an issue with Mrs C’s heart she would have been referred to obstetrics, who would have been able to identify the symptoms and perform lifesaving surgery.
The Hospital Trust denied any negligence and stated that the tear had not occurred at the time of Mrs C’s attendance to the A&E department.
The case was scheduled for trial, but shortly before the case went to court the Hospital Trust agreed to an out of court settlement of £350,000.
The large settlement was in part due to the involvement of two small children and Mr C becoming their sole carer.