Wake Smith Solicitors has uncovered a South Yorkshire hospital’s high-level investigation into its own failures surrounding the diagnosis and treatment of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Wake Smith was contacted by a 43-year-old Rotherham woman who was diagnosed with a DVT four weeks after first attending Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s emergency department with an ankle injury, despite hospital staff discounting the possibility of the condition on a follow up visit.
Clinical negligence solicitor Scott Haslam contacted the hospital to find it was already conducting an investigation, led by deputy clinical director James Griffiths.
The investigation uncovered three further cases where venous thromboembolism (VTE) incidents had been missed or incorrectly assessed in the emergency department.
Barnsley hospital has now reviewed its diagnostic procedures, assessment and discharge advice and has appointed a VTE lead for emergency department nursing staff. It will also ensure VTE is covered in the junior doctor and advanced nurse practitioners teaching programme.
Haslam said: “The case we were asked to deal with concerned a patient whose condition should have prompted further investigations into her condition. This opportunity was missed despite two hospital visits. VTE conditions are potentially life threatening, so this prompted us to make enquiries with the hospital.
“Because of the serious nature of VTE conditions, we found that the hospital had launched its own high level internal investigation which concerned a further three cases where VTE conditions had either been missed, treated incorrectly or insufficient advice had been given to the patient.
“The investigation has led to changes in diagnostic procedures, assessment, training and advice on discharge at the hospital including a VTE lead for the emergency department nursing staff responsible for education regarding the assessment, management and referral process of ambulatory DVT and pulmonary embolism.
“The investigation’s results will hopefully mean the tightening of procedures and the increased diagnosis of this very dangerous condition,” he added.