Doctor missed South Shields woman’s fatal blood clot

Flagg Court Medical Centre in South Shields.

Flagg Court Medical Centre in South Shields.

A woman died from a deep vein thrombosis after being “incorrectly diagnosed”, an inquest heard.

Lynn Strafford told her GP she was concerned about developing a blood clot after suffering pain in her left leg.

South Tyneside Coroner Terence Carney.

South Tyneside Coroner Terence Carney.

The 58-year-old, of Carnegie Close, South Shields, visited Dr Fardeen Haque at the town’s Flagg Court Health Centre, on March 1, 2013.

South Tyneside coroner Terence Carney heard Mrs Strafford was accompanied her husband, Ronald.

A police statement given by Mr Strafford said Dr Haque examined his wife and told her that she had a Baker’s cyst, a fluid-filled swelling that develops at the back of the knee, and made an appointment for her at South Tyneside District Hospital on March 5 to have a scan.

In the early hours of that day, Mr Strafford woke to find his wife having a fit.

“I wish I had 
referered her straight to hospital” Doctor

He called an ambulance but, on the way to South Tyneside District Hospital, she went into cardiac arrest.

Paramedics began resuscitation and her heart was restarted but she suffered another cardiac arrest and died shortly after. Dr Haque told the inquest he had been responsible for Mrs Strafford’s care since 2006, and said that his main diagnosis on March 1 was of osteoarthritis as well as a Baker’s cyst.

He said that, as the couple were leaving his office, Mrs Strafford asked: “It’s not a blood clot, is it?”

He said he examined her again and said he did not believe she had a blood clot but admitted there were more things he could have done that day to make sure it wasn’t a clot and that the red flags were there.

When asked if he should have referred her straight to hospital, he said: “Obviously I wish I had.”

However, he said he was as confident as he could be at that time.

Home Office pathologist Dr Nigel Cooper told the hearing Mrs Strafford’s left calf was slightly swollen and that she had large blood clots in her pulmonary arteries, which were “completely blocked by coiled blood cells”. There were also clots in her lungs. He said the clots were so large that they were “inevitably fatal” but that it is a “treatable condition”.

He said the cause of death was pulmonary thromboembolism.

Mr Carney delivered a narrative conclusion, saying: “Mrs Strafford died as a consequence of a natural disease process incorrectly diagnosed and therefore not immediately and appropriately treated.”