Man dies of blood clot following GPs failures

A man died because of a blood clot in a vein after two GPs in Yorkshire failed to adequately assess him, an investigation by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman found.

The man, who endured several weeks of pain in his leg, was unable to leave his chair for two weeks. Two GPs visited the man at his home, on consecutive days, but he subsequently died from a blood clot in one of his lungs.

An investigation by the Health Ombudsman's service found both GPs failed to adequately assess the man, or provide, or arrange, further investigations and treatment which he needed.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:

This is a sad case where a man was left in considerable pain over a long period of time.

'He was seen by two healthcare professionals - two GPs - who both failed in their duty of care to properly assess him.

'We have found that the GPs have learned from the complaint and have taken action to ensure it does not happen again.

'All the GPs at the Practice have increased awareness of managing the condition deep vein thrombosis – a blood clot in a vein in the leg.

'And one of the GPs has attended a workshop on preventing pulmonary embolism - a blockage in the blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the lungs.

'The Practice has also introduced a new process for reviewing significant events.'

The Parliamentary and Health Ombudsman's service found there was a strong probability even if the failings had not happened the man would have died. However, his wife will never know whether, if the failings had not occurred, her husband would have survived.

The GPs have apologised to the man's wife and paid £2,000 in recognition of the distress she has experienced.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is independent and impartially investigates complaints from individuals about UK government departments, and other public organisations, and the NHS in England. It carries out adjudications making final decisions on people's complaints. The Ombudsman Service investigates 4,000 cases a year and upholds around 42 per cent.

Notes to editors

For more information contact senior press officer Ben Miller at the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman on tel: 0300 061 4324 or email