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Broken Hearted: clinical negligence cases involving heart surgery

#WorldHeartDay - 29th September


The heart is the most important muscle in the human body. It works 24 hours a day and each day will beat about 100,000 times. This blog, by Simon Bransby, a specialist clinical negligence lawyer at Morgan Jones Pett, looks at some of the procedures and problems that he encounters as part of his work.

Defective Pacemaker The first case involves the failure of a pacemaker defibrillator device, manufactured by an American company, St Judes Medical. The claim is proceeding under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 against the manufacturer/supplier, alleging that the produce was defective.

Unfortunately for my client, who was just aged 50 at the time, the pacemaker failed after only two years of being fitted. He was rushed to A&E and transferred to a coronary care unit where he underwent a major operation to remove and replace the defective device. He has since undergone three further operations, all as a direct consequence of the original failed device. His claim is ongoing.

Negligent Heart Surgery I’m currently acting for a client in a case against one of the big specialist heart centres in East Anglia. My client was taken to hospital for a coronary bypass grafting and replacement of his aortic valve. The operation was not carried out to a good standard and we’re alleging various failing by the surgeon and the hospital. Failings such as using the wrong sized valve for the procedure, and passing a suture through the aortic wall entrapping one of the leaflets of the replacement aortic valve as it did so, causing it to leak, and not properly de-airing the heart.

My client required revision surgery to replace the aortic valve and aortic route, with the right size valve being used this time. Unfortunately, he also suffered an embolic event (likely to be some form of stroke) at the time of the surgery which has resulted in serious problems for his future life, impacting on his life expectancy and rendering him unable to work and carry out a lot of previous hobbies/activities around the home and such like.

If you feel that you have possible clinical negligence issues related to the heart then call Simon Bransby on 01603 877000.

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