Our highly experienced team of specialist clinical negligence lawyers are here to assist and to advise. They will advise you comprehensively about the merits of your claim, funding options and ensure that you and your family get the best possible results. The Medical Negligence team have deep experience of abdominal aortic-aneurysm (AAA) negligence claims against GPs, NHS Trusts and private hospitals. We frequently see a number of these cases each year.
Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of a ruptured aortic-aneurysm can tragically have fatal consequences.
If you or someone you love has complications from aortic aneurysm non diagnosis or misdiagnosis then you may be able to make a claim for your injuries and financial losses. Contact the team for Free Consultation
The aneurysm often takes many years to develop and may often show no symptoms at all. Only when the aorta begins to leak do patients notice a sudden severe pain in their abdomen or back. Typical symptoms that indicate a patient may have a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm include:
The aorta is the largest and most important artery in your body. It originates at the heart and runs down into the abdomen where it splits into smaller arteries that provide the main blood supply to your legs. The aorta supplies oxygen rich blood to the femoral arteries and branches off as the popliteal artery and the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.
Some people (quite often men) are susceptible to developing aneurysms of the aortic artery due to a number of reasons, such as a hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure, infection or trauma.
An aneurysm is an abnormal bulge, which can form within the artery when the artery walls become weak. When the walls become too weak the pressure of flowing blood causes the artery wall to push outward, creating a bulge. This bulge in the artery might take some time to develop – perhaps years. The slow development of such an aneurysm is not life-threatening in itself but the larger it becomes, the greater the risk that it might rupture. Of course, given its size and location – when an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm (AAA or “triple-A”) ruptures it is a life threatening medical emergency.
It is estimated that around 4% of all men aged between 65 and 74 in England have an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. This means that there are 80,000 men in England with this condition and this sadly leads to approximately 6,000 deaths per year. The NHS estimates that deaths from Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms account for around 2% of all deaths in men aged 65 and over.
Women are much less likely to develop abdominal aortic aneurysms. Men are three times more likely to suffer with this condition than women.
The condition is so prevalent that the NHS now offer screening to men aged 65 or over. If you’re a man, and you’re registered with a GP, you should receive a screening invitation in the post when you’re 64 or very soon after your 65th birthday. If you don’t receive such a letter then you can ask for a test by contacting your local AAA NHS screening service directly.
The diagnosis is usually made by way of an ultrasound or a CT scan after a patient has been admitted to A&E. If diagnosed early the prognosis will be good. A large and growing aneurysm will often be treated with surgery. The surgery will prevent a full rupture of the aorta. Other smaller aneurysms may simply just need careful monitoring.
Most aneurysms do not cause any symptoms. On occasions they might cause some stomach or back pain, or perhaps a pulsating sensation in the abdomen. This type of pain in a patient with a known aneurysm can be a sign of imminent rupture and urgent medical attention is required.
If not identified at a screening appointment, most aneurysms are found by chance when scans are being carried out in diagnosing or investigating other conditions.
AAAs are most often diagnosed in men under 65 incidentally, or when they become symptomatic or rupture. The maximum diameter of the aorta is usually about 2cm across in adults. An aneurysm is said to be present if the artery is over 3cm across.
When an AAA reaches 5.5cm the risk of rupture is increased. By the time it reaches this size the option of surgery is considered.
Treatment is designed to prevent a full blown rupture of the aneurysm which can often prove to be fatal.
The majority of our medical negligence claims are funded by ‘Conditional Fee Agreements (CFAs) – also known as “No Win No Fee” agreements.
This means that you will not have to pay anything at the outset, and there is no financial risk or obligation to you if your claim is unsuccessful. Your solicitor will provide clear information on what this means and answer any questions you may have.
Our client underwent an ultrasound where a swelling of the a 4cm aorta was noted. The doctor wrote a letter to his GP. No follow up, referral or monitoring was arranged by the GP. Years later the client attended A&E where staff initially thought that he had gallstones but he was subsequently diagnosed with an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Our client underwent another scan and his aortic aneurysm burst shortly thereafter. He was transferred to a specialist hospital where he underwent three procedures but sadly died of multiple organ failure. Our solicitors acted for the family at the inquest.
Outcome: The case settled for a six figure sum shortly after the conclusion of the inquest.
Our client had an aortogram and angiogram conducted during which a dilation of the abdominal aorta was noted but no follow up was arranged. Following year, a 7cm AAA was identified during the preoperative assessment for the CABG. Neither the surgeon nor his team acted upon it and patient was not told. Few years later, when patient attended A&E due to back and lion pain, CT revealed that 9cm AAA had ruptured. The patient was taken for emergency surgery and then onto ITU to recover. His condition deteriorated over the coming days and he suffered multi-organ failure. He died two days after later.
The law says that any medical professional or organisation who is caring for a patient owes a ‘duty of care’ to that patient. If that duty of care is breached and causes an injury then a claim can be made.
The Claimant needs to show that they have suffered an injury as a result of negligent medical treatment. In order to bring a successful claim for medical negligence, you will need to prove two things, which are referred to as ‘breach of duty’ and ‘causation’.
Just because a medical professional has made a mistake, it does not automatically mean that negligence is established. It is essential to show that the mistake has directly caused a significant injury. Causation can be a very complex concept; it is often difficult to know whether the mistake caused the injury, or whether the injury was caused by some other underlying problem and would have occurred irrespective of the mistake.
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