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Failure to Warn of Risk Costs Hospital

There are many illnesses that carry an enhanced risk of developing other health problems, and the courts are taking an increasingly hard line when medical staff fail to warn patients of those risks and the patient suffers as a result.

In a recent case, a man who suffered from a pulmonary embolism and underwent an operation was not warned by doctors that his condition carried an enhanced risk of him developing deep-vein thrombosis (DVT), nor was he made aware of the symptoms of DVT so that he could seek medical help if they presented.

When he did develop DVT, which is potentially life-threatening, he sued the hospital, alleging that the staff had been negligent in not warning him of the risks he faced. The hospital argued that although the likelihood that he would develop DVT was enhanced, it was still remote and the man had contributed to his injury by failing to consult his GP immediately when he noticed the pain in his calf resulting from the thrombosis.

The court rejected the hospital's arguments and awarded the man £17,500 in damages.

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