Damages for a blocked tracheostomy
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Malcolm Johnson acted for the family of a quadriplegic man who died in hospital, after it was alleged that his tracheostomy became blocked.
Malcolm was first approached by the family shortly before the inquest, and he represented them at the hearing. During the inquest, there was a question as to whether to whether the nurses attending the deceased had suctioned his tracheostomy tube properly. Paramedics who were called to the hospital observed that the man's chest failed to rise when they tried to get air into him.
Giving evidence at the inquest, the pathologist found no blockage on the tracheostomy tube, but an otolaryngologist also called to give evidence said that in his view, the tube had probably become blocked. Another medical expert said that the deceased had suffered a heart attack, and that was the cause of his death.
The Coroner's verdict made it clear that the cause of death remained unknown.
Undeterred BL Claims presented a Letter of Claim to the hospital and instructed a consultant cardiologist, who concluded that death was unlikely to have been caused by a heart attack. We also instructed a nursing expert who pointed to breaches of duty in the treatment of the deceased shortly before his death.
Following further negotiation with the hospital, we were able to settle the family's claim without having to issue proceedings.
We hope that this process will give some closure to the family.
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