DVT family awarded £228,000

The family of a woman who died from a blood clot has been awarded £228,000 after a judge ruled a doctor was negligent, resulting in her death.

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Maria Bernadette Donald, 45, died on August 6, 2003 at Ayr Hospital after suffering a deep vein thrombosis.

On July 16, Mrs Donald visited GP Dr John Cleland at the Ballochmyle Medical Practice in her home town of Mauchline, Ayrshire.

The mother of four – whose mum had died a short while before – complained of breathless and had told a work colleague she had a pain in her chest.

But Dr Cleland believed she was suffering from panic attacks and needed bereavement counselling.

In the weeks leading up to her death, the pharmacy worker's condition continued to become worse.

But Dr Cleland still refused to believe she could be suffering from anything other than a stress related condition.

On July 28 the doctor, who is now retired, refused to send Mrs Donald to hospital.

Mrs Donald was plagued by depression throughout her life and had received treatment for the condition.

She comfort ate and at the time of her death weighed about 20st.

After her death, her husband Robin and daughters Gillian, 30, Emma, 25, Sarah and Ruth, both 24, launched legal action at the Court Of Session, Edinburgh, against the medical practice.

They asked a team of medical experts to examine the circumstances surrounding their mother's death.

The experts concluded she could have been suffering from Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in the weeks leading up to her death.

They also said Dr Cleland did not do enough to ensure Mrs Donald was diagnosed for the debilitating condition.

Judge Lord Glennie issued a written judgment and slammed Dr Cleland for his incompetent conduct.

He wrote: "I conclude Dr Cleland's negligence on July 28 in failing to refer Mrs Donald resulted in her death.

"Had he referred her then, she would not have died of a pulmonary embolism on August 6."

Lord Glennie concluded Dr Cleland was negligent and the Ballochmyle practice should pay the family a total of £228,000.

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