Hospital failure to restart medication led to death of a beloved mother

20 March 2024

Hospital failure to restart medication led to death of a beloved mother

The story

Our client instructed us to investigate the treatment received in hospital by her mother, who had unfortunately passed away whilst under their care.

The details

Our client’s mother had a history of atrial fibrillation and was taking Apixaban (an anticoagulant), to reduce the risks of blood clots. With the help of this medicine, our client’s mother was able to enjoy a largely independent life and only required minimal support from carers.

On a cold winter morning our client’s mother had a fall at her home. She was rushed to hospital by ambulance where x-rays revealed a fractured left hip. A plan was made to stop the Apixaban and recommence it after the surgery, once the hip repair had taken place. Unfortunately, despite being reviewed by various doctors after the hip surgery, no instructions were given to recommence the Apixaban.

The impact

Three days after the surgery, our client’s mother had another fall on the hospital ward. At that stage, Apixaban had still not been restarted and a CT head scan revealed that she had suffered an acute stroke. Sadly, she passed away 14 days after the hip surgery.

How we helped

The case was investigated by paralegal Arshid Mahmood, acting under the supervision of Alex Haider, Senior Associate. Arshid obtained expert evidence from a stroke physician, and established that national guidelines recommended that Apixaban should have been restarted not less than 48 hours and not more than 72 hours after the surgery. On the balance of probabilities, had the Apixaban been given, our client’s mother would not have suffered the stroke. The expert also estimated that, prior to the stroke she would have had a life expectancy of approximately another 3 years.

We served a Letter of Claim to the trust, setting out details of how they breached their duty of care to our client’s mother, and the consequences of those breaches. The trust’s representatives admitted that there had been a failure to restart Apixaban and that it should have been re-started between 48 and 72 hours following surgery. The hospital also admitted that, on the balance of probabilities, the failure to re-start Apixaban post-operatively contributed to the stroke which eventually caused her death.

We were able to settle this claim for our client without the need to issue court proceedings.

What our client said

“I had a very pleasant experience in dealing with Arshid Mahmood. Arshid always kept me updated with the progress of the case and he clearly knew the law. I had no complaints whatsoever with the service I received”.



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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