GP negligence claim after failure to diagnose a heart murmur - £80,000 compensation

36 year old Peter was a serving member of the RAF when his GP noticed abnormal heart rhythm during a routine medical. The GP arranged a chest x ray, but the result was unclear and further investigations including further x rays and an ECG were recommended. The GP failed to arrange these follow up investigations.

People with heart murmurs should have prophylactic antibiotics before receiving invasive dental treatment. The reason for this being, that during dental treatment bacteria are introduced into the blood stream. People with heart murmurs are at risk of the bacteria attaching to their heart valves and damaging them. Not knowing that he had a heart murmur Peter’s dentist had no reason to prescribe prophylactic antibiotics. Shortly after dental treatment Peter developed an infection of his heart valves and required replacement of one of his heart valves and a life long prescription of Warfarin.

Had the GP made arrangements for follow up investigation the heart murmur would have been confirmed. Peter would have been told to take antibiotics before invasive dental treatment, and his cardiac infection avoided. He would not then have needed heart valve transplant surgery and would have been able to either remain in the armed forces or take a job as a policeman or in the prison/security services.

Following negotiation shortly before trial £80,000 compensation was accepted. 

The service provided was first class. You were understanding, caring and professional

David Froud

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