Mother Wins Medical Negligence Claim for Hospital´s Failure to Prevent DVT

A woman from Belfast has won a medical negligence claim for a hospital´s failure to prevent DVT at the time her first child was born.

The unnamed woman from Belfast was thirty-five years of age when she gave birth to her first child at the Ulster Hospital in June 2009. Shortly after delivering her child, she developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and, on attending the Accident & Emergency Department of the hospital, was told that the redness in her legs was probably due to hormones.

The woman has subsequently undergone surgery to relieve the symptoms of DVT after the delivery of two further children and now has to permanently wear support tights. She finds walking for more than 10-15 minutes exhausting and has difficulty in climbing stairs. The consequences of the surgery she has undergone to date mean that, if a DVT-related blood clot develops in her leg, she will have to have the leg amputated.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT against the South Eastern Care and Social Health Trust. She alleged in her action that she was not properly assessed as being at risk of DVT – despite being in the high-risk category – and that she should have been prescribed drugs to prevent the condition.

The South Eastern Care and Social Health Trust denied acknowledging liability for her injuries and apologising for avoidable failings in her care until the medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT was heard at Belfast Crown Court. The Trust subsequently agreed to a settlement of the claim amounting to £400,000.

Speaking after the settlement had been announced, the woman´s solicitor said “If this [medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT] serves the purpose of ensuring another person avoids this particular difficulty it will have been worthwhile. Any mum aged thirty-five or over should know they are at potential risk.”