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Complaints upheld after Darent Valley Hospital fails to diagnose woman with potentially fatal blood clot

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A woman with a potentially fatal blood clot in her lungs was sent home by Darent Valley Hospital after it failed to diagnose her condition.

Her treatment has been criticised in a report out this week by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman.

It says Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust should have done further tests to check a blood clot on a patient, described only as “Mrs N”.

Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: Nick Johnson
Darent Valley Hospital. Picture: Nick Johnson

The report says: “A doctor examined her and said she could go home. She remained unwell and saw another doctor privately, who diagnosed her with a blood clot in the lung.

“Mrs N was distressed that the trust had left her without treatment for a potentially serious problem. She complained to the trust.

"It accepted it should have carried out further tests, and sent her statements from the doctors involved.”

The ombudsman said Mrs N was unhappy with the time it took to respond and found the doctors’ statements contradictory.

The report says: “We partly upheld this case. The trust should have done further tests to look for a blood clot before discharging Mrs N. It was appropriate for the trust to acknowledge that, but it had not explained what it had done to stop something similar from happening again.”

The report adds: “However, the doctors who saw Mrs N told her to come back if she was still unwell. If she had done so, the trust would most likely have found her clot then.”

The trust paid the woman £100 in recognition of the distress experienced, and produced an action plan to avoid similar incidents.

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