Infective Endocarditis

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Infective Endocarditis Compensation

If infective endocarditis has been misdiagnosed or negligently treated, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

What is infective endocarditis?

Infective endocarditis may also be referred to as bacterial endocarditis. It is a very serious, potentially life-threatening infection affecting the heart.

Endocarditis can sometimes occur following certain medical or dental procedures as this can result in bacteria entering the bloodstream. A person tends to be at a higher risk of developing endocarditis if they have pre-existing diseases and/or conditions involving the heart, but it can affect anyone.

In the UK, in accordance with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines, antibiotics are not routinely recommended or prescribed before invasive dental procedures, even when patients are known to be directly at risk of developing infective endocarditis. Despite published research highlighting the rising prevalence of infective endocarditis in England since introduction of these guidelines; NICE have recently re-affirmed their position maintaining that “antibiotics are not effective for preventing infective endocarditis.” They suggest that there was no evidence within the research to suggest a direct link between falling antibiotic prescriptions with the snowballing rise of infective endocarditis in recent years.

How is endocarditis diagnosed and treated?

If a patient has endocarditis they very often suffer from flu-like symptoms, including:

  • A fever and/or chills
  • A headache
  • General muscle and joint aches and pain

As a result, this can make infective endocarditis quite difficult to diagnose. A full history should be taken, to include details such as a description of symptoms, how they developed, and any relevant past medical history. An examination should also be performed, to include listening to the heart and checking your temperature.

Further tests and investigations may then be carried including a blood test, ECG and/or ultrasound. A chest x-ray, CT scan and/or MRI scan can also sometimes be helpful in making a diagnosis of infective endocarditis.

Treatment for endocarditis usually involves hospital admission for intravenous antibiotics. Some patients may also require an operation to repair or replace any damaged heart valves.

What if endocarditis is misdiagnosed?

Unfortunately, if endocarditis is misdiagnosed and treatment is delayed, the impact upon the sufferer may be catastrophic, and sadly, could even be fatal. The earlier the diagnosis, the better the chance of a good prognosis.

This is because the longer the infection has to develop, the more damage it is likely to cause to the heart valves and the higher the chance of developing other, often life-changing, conditions, including heart failure or stroke. It is therefore extremely important that a prompt diagnosis is made, in order to minimise the devastating effects such a condition can have on a patient’s life.

Whilst the debate about antibiotics and infective endocarditis rumbles on, what we do know is that endocarditis can cause serious damage to a patient’s heart. Approximately 25% of people diagnosed with endocarditis end up requiring heart surgery, which may even result in a patient requiring a mechanical valve and medication for life.

Despite the best efforts of surgical teams, it is estimated 1 in 10 people will die during or shortly after surgery for endocarditis.

Can you make a compensation claim?

If you think you have suffered a delay in diagnosis or negligent treatment of infective endocarditis, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please contact us for advice if you feel you may have an infective endocarditis compensation claim, or have suffered any form of clinical negligence.

It is important to contact us as soon as possible. This is because there are strict time limits in place for making a claim for compensation. Once contacted, our solicitors will be able to advise you specifically on the facts of your own case. We even have an in-house dual-qualified doctor/solicitor who can assist in assessing whether or not you may have suffered from clinical negligence.

Why choose us?

Why choose Oliver & Co Medical Negligence team? – Read our guide.

You can direct dial our Clinical Negligence Department on 01244 354688 or fill in our contact us form.

Case studies:

Every year we help lots of clients just like you to claim the compensation they deserve. The case studies below demonstrate how we have helped clients claim compensation in respect of the care and treatment of infective endocarditis in the past. Please be aware that the compensation amounts depend on the client’s individual situation and experiences. To see how much your claim could be worth please contact us directly.

Case Study 1: £600,000+ in Compensation

  • Our client underwent dental treatment and thereafter began to experience flu-like symptoms, including a fever, sweats, general aches, tiredness and intermittent chest pain. Despite numerous attendances to the GP, no referral to hospital was made.
  • Later that year, our client was admitted to hospital with a suspected heart attack. She also went on to suffer a stroke. It was subsequently discovered that she was suffering from infective endocarditis, rather than a heart attack.
  • As a result of the stroke, our client suffered visual loss, unsteadiness and short-term memory loss, requiring assistance with personal care and activities of daily living. She also suffered severe depression and her life expectancy was reduced.
 How we helped: 
  • Our client brought a claim for a failure to refer to hospital and therefore a delay in diagnosis of infective endocarditis which, it was alleged, would have resulted in less pain and suffering and the avoidance of the suspected heart attack and stroke.
  • Liability was not admitted by the defendant and, with expert evidence supporting our allegations of negligence, we proceeded to issue court proceedings. After significant negotiations, we were delighted to agree a figure in excess of £600,000 for our client.
  • This compensation allowed our client to make necessary adaptations to her home.
  • Read the full case study here.

Case Study 2: £11,500+ in Compensation

  • Over the Christmas period our client’s parent had started to suffer symptoms including tiredness, reduced appetite, weight loss, fever and night sweats. After attending hospital, they were merely referred for an iron infusion for anaemia.
  • Our client’s parent subsequently suffered a nasty fall, injuring their hip, knees and shoulder and attended hospital as a result of this. Despite their symptoms and pain, they were discharged home, with no support for them at home.
  • Our client’s parent then sadly died. The cause of death was determined to be infective endocarditis.
How we helped:
  • Our client brought a claim on behalf of the Estate of their late parent for failing to diagnose infective endocarditis, resulting in avoidable pain, suffering and subsequent death.
  • The defendant admitted liability and expressed their sincerest apologies for their errors and for the sad loss of our client’s parent. The Estate was awarded £11,500 in compensation.
  • Our client was not seeking compensation as their end goal and was grateful for the admission of liability and apology achieved.

How can we help you?

Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors specialise in dealing with claims arising from the negligent treatment or delayed diagnosis of infective endocarditis. We understand that it is vital for medical professionals to diagnose the symptoms of endocarditis as early as possible. Failure to do so can result in significant injury to the patient or, in some circumstances, death.

We have a wide range of experience in dealing with infective endocarditis compensation claims (please see case studies above).

We have developed brilliant working relationships with many cardiology experts who we know to be approachable and reliable in assisting us with infective endocarditis compensation claims which allows us to ensure we get great expert advice for our clients.

Our team is headed by a dual-qualified doctor and solicitor, so we benefit from in-house medical knowledge. Our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to help. We can quickly and efficiently assess any areas of potential negligence for a wide range of claims.

Want to have a free and confidential chat in relation to a potential infective endocarditis claim? Give our team of specialist clinical negligence solicitors a call on 01244 354688.

For free advice from our Medical Negligence solicitors, please call us direct on 01244 354688

Linda Schermer-Jones

Head of the Clinical Negligence Department, Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Kerry Goulden

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Liz Fry

Associate Director & Medical Negligence Solicitor

Emma Woodrow

Clinical Negligence Legal Adviser