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Stroke Victim Wins £150,000 From Negligent GP

A formidably energetic mother-of-four, whose active life was blighted when she suffered a devastating stroke, has won £150,000 in compensation after the High Court ruled that her GP had been negligent in failing to diagnose a dangerous heart infection.

Before her stroke, the middle-aged woman held down jobs as a teaching assistant, dinner lady, caretaker and cleaner at a school in her home town. Although she had been fitted with an artificial heart valve, she thought nothing of running up to 10 miles on Sundays and had taken part in the London Marathon.

Unbeknown to anyone, however, she was suffering from infective endocarditis – a serious infection of the inner tissues of the heart. By the time she saw the GP, she was suffering pain in her legs, as well as intense sweats, both during the day and at night. Those symptoms, the High Court found, should have 'raised a red flag' in the doctor's mind, but did not do so.

Had the GP diagnosed the woman's condition correctly, she would have immediately been referred to hospital where effective treatment would most likely have averted the stroke, which she suffered two weeks after she saw the doctor. The Court found that the GP was in breach of duty in failing to appreciate the significance of what the woman had told her during the consultation. Damages were agreed at £150,000.

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