A young woman is lucky to be alive after blood clots formed in her lungs when doctors failed to give her the correct medication during multiple hospital stays.
Our customer Rebecca Lord, 30, from Hampshire, was admitted to Frimley Park Hospital in Camberley in September 2014 after she began suffering from severe pain in her lower back caused by two slipped discs in her spine.
But during her first admission to hospital of five days, medical staff failed to provide her with blood thinning medication or compression socks to prevent her from developing clots, which can happen when people spend long periods of time on bed rest.
While I was in hospital, I asked several times for the medication and socks, but I was never given anything. But I just kept being told by the nurses that they would speak to another member of staff, but nothing ever came of it.”Rebecca
Doctors did not provide Rebecca with the blood thinning treatment or socks, despite her being at higher risk of developing blood clots. She was discharged from hospital expecting to see a physiotherapist and the pain team.
Just one week later, on 18th September, Rebecca was re-admitted to hospital with worsening back pain.She remained in hospital on bed rest for another 5 days. Again, she did not receive compression stockings and blood thinning medication.
She was discharged on 22nd September 2014 to await a physiotherapy appointment. But two days later, she was rushed back to Frimley Park hospital for the third time after she developed a crushing pain in her chest and she was struggling to breathe.
During this admission, she underwent a chest x-ray, echocardiogram (ECG) on her chest, a CT pulomary angiogram and blood tests were carried out as a precautionary measure to check for blood clots. It was finally discovered that she had multiple blood clots in both her lungs, which had developed due to the long periods of time she had spent on bed rest without blood thinning medication to prevent clots or compression socks.
The medication she had been without for weeks – warfarin and deltaparin, which are used to treat or prevent blood clots – was administered immediately and she was put on oxygen and oramorph.
When she was discharged on 1st October 2014, Rebecca continued to require warfarin and heparin and had to undergo weekly blood tests to make sure the clots hadn’t reformed. She was originally told that she would remain on this medication for four months until February 2015, but following blood tests, she had to remain on the medication for eight months in total.
Rebecca spoke about how life was after she returned home
After I was finally discharged from hospital, I really struggled to get my life back on track. For the first few weeks, I wasn’t allowed to walk for more than 30 minutes a day or sit on long car journeys as this would risk more clots. I’ve had to change my whole lifestyle and diet – I used to be very outgoing. I even missed my best friend’s wedding as the journey was too long and I’d have been on my feet the whole day.
Recognising that she had been a medical negligence victim, Rebecca contacted Fletchers as she wanted justice and stop it happening to anyone else. Liability was admitted by Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust on 24th October 2016 and Rebecca received £16,000 in compensation.
Kate Goodman, the solicitor who handled Rebecca’s case, said: “This has been an incredibly traumatic ordeal for Rebecca, which is still continuing to have a huge impact on her life. Although failing to provide compression socks may seem like a small mistake, Rebecca’s case just goes to show the devastating consequences medical errors can have on a patient. For Rebecca, this error could have cost her life.”
We are extremely pleased that we were able to get justice for Rebecca and we hope that this goes some way towards helping her come to terms with what happened.
Rebecca spoke about the trauma and how it’s impacted on her life. “I’m now absolutely terrified when I have to be admitted into hospital in case any other mistakes happen again.
“The whole ordeal has had a huge impact on my mental health. I’m constantly worrying about what I’m doing and if it’s going to cause more clots. If I get a cold, or my back pain flares up again, I panic. Or I worry that if I fall ill, this will result in me being bed bound again and I’ll develop another clot. I feel really traumatised by the whole incident and fear this will never leave me.”
Due to her reduced mobility, Rebecca struggled to return to work as a senior sales advisor and needed to take regular time off to attend hospital appointments. She found it difficult to keep up with her responsibilities as she had to be on her feet for long periods of time. Eventually, she had to give up her job and is now searching for a less physically demanding role.
Throughout my case, the team at Fletchers was incredible – they supported me every step of the way and really understood what I was dealing with, mentally and physically. I just really hope that this outcome and the hospital’s admission will drive forward changes to how patients are dealt with so this doesn’t happen to anyone else.Rebecca