Miss T, who was 36 years old, became ill at work with symptoms that included sharp shooting pains in the top centre of her chest, a dull aching pain in her right arm, pain to her jaw and teeth, hot flushes, and nausea causing her to vomit. She was extremely worried as her biological father had died of a heart attack, aged 36.
Miss T attended an emergency appointment with her GP. By the time she saw the GP she had been experiencing the chest pain for around 90 minutes, 40 of those at a severe level. She explained the symptoms to her GP and also said that she had the sensation of a lump in her throat that felt like her heart was trying to get out. She told the GP that she thought she was having a heart attack, but he said that was unlikely due to her age. She explained her family history relating to heart attacks, but the GP dismissed her concerns and suggested she was suffering from reflux, prescribing Omeprazole tablets. Miss T challenged the GP’s diagnosis, but he said the pain she was experiencing in her arm, jaw and teeth could be caused by muscular tension due to indigestion pain.
Miss T returned home, and her pain eased after a few hours, albeit that she continued to suffer from aching sensations for the rest of the day. She took the Omeprazole as advised and took a few days off work as she was extremely tired.
Two months later, Miss T began to experience an ache in her chest whilst at home and took the Omeprazole tablets that her GP had prescribed. The pain got worse and she became hot, breathless and developed pain in her right arm. Once again, she felt like her heart was stuck in her throat. She vomited. She called her parents to come and help and also called 111. Within 10 minutes of her parents arriving at her home, Miss T had lost consciousness. An ambulance arrived about 15 minutes after she had called 111 and Miss T was treated with 2 electric shocks. She was then admitted to hospital, where she was diagnosed as having suffered a heart attack, which required the insertion of 3 stents in her right coronary artery.
Miss T was put in an induced coma and was unconscious for a couple of days. After, she learned of the heart attack and that her father had given her CPR in front of her children whilst waiting for the ambulance. She was discharged from hospital six days after she arrived. She had to take six weeks off work before a phased return. During this time, she was physically exhausted and suffered anxiety and other psychological injuries, which resulted in her having to undertake cognitive behavioural therapy. She was constantly in fear of having another heart attack due to continued chest pains.
Very unhappy about her GP’s actions, Miss T felt that she’d had to undergo emergency treatment at hospital due to his failure to refer her for cardiac investigation when she first saw him.
Nikki took up Miss T’s case and contacted the GP stating that he had provided substandard medical care and had been negligent in failing to properly consider Miss T’s symptoms and family history and in failing to refer her immediately for emergency care. Nikki said that had proper investigation been carried out in the first instance, it is likely that Miss T would have been accurately diagnosed and treated following the first consultation with her GP, she would probably not have suffered the heart attack, which led to more severe surgery than would have been necessary following the first incident, and would not have required CPR in front of her children.
The GP denied liability throughout and Nikki issued court proceedings. She set up experts’ meetings but continued to exert pressure on the GP via his representatives. Just before the experts’ meetings were to go ahead, the GP decided to settle the case and Miss T was awarded £20,000.
Miss T was delighted with the service she received from Nikki, saying:
“Fabulous! Nikki was amazing and very supportive throughout – communication was excellent at all times. Would highly recommend.”
All medical practitioners owe a duty to provide adequate care to their patients and in this case, the GP did not. If you have suffered due to any substandard medical treatment that you have received, contact our experts now to arrange a free of charge discussion in which we can assess your case. You can also find out more about medical negligence on our web pages.
Author: Nikki Yavari, medical negligence solicitor.