We have been acting for a Mr Philip McLeod, the husband of Catherine, a much loved wife and mother who sadly died on 12 December 2020 aged 70. The family are unhappy with treatment she received at various hospitals in the West Country prior to her death.

Briefly, Cath had a longstanding heart problem. From about 2003 she had regular check-ups at various Cardio Clinics.

During 2018, she was referred to hospital for her heart condition. In 2020, there was a deterioration in her cardiac symptoms and she was transferred to another hospital where she underwent an aortic valve & aortic arch replacement operation during November 2020.

Shortly after this operation, she experienced respiratory difficulties requiring a tracheostomy. Following further investigation, she and her family were advised she had an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) which had been longstanding but had now ruptured. This had never been diagnosed and could no longer be treated and henceforth her care would be palliative. Sadly, she died shortly afterwards.

Her husband suspects that her death could have been avoided if his wife’s AAA had been diagnosed and treated prior to her surgery in November 2020.

Since his wife died, it has come to light men who are aged 65 or over are routinely offered AAA scans by the NHS but this is only offered to women aged 70 or other with high risk factors. Cath’s family believe this is wrong. If AAAs are diagnosed early in men or women, a rupture may be avoided preventing life threatening injuries and in many cases, death.

Mr McLeod says:

My wife died from a ruptured Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm. If detected years earlier it could have been operable. I am aware of many people with similar stories.

Men are offered screening when they turn 65, but women are not. I want the Government to fund screening for women, to help detect AAA early.

My wife died unnecessarily and she and many other women would still be alive if a routine quick and cheap ultrasound scan was offered to all women, in the same way it is offered to me.

Breast screening is routine so why not for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms. Please make AAA screening routinely available to all women.

NHS web site states: “screening for AAA is not routinely offered to women because the risk of getting an AAA is much smaller”. Therefore it seems women are expendable for the sake of a cheap ultrasound scan

For information on AAAs see: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abdominal-aortic-aneurysm.

The family have started a petition to try and rectify this anomaly and we would encourage everyone to support it – https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/610129

In addition, please read their press release which will tell you more about this very sad case.

This case has also been featured in the Swindon Advertiser.

Article in the Sunday Post: Senior surgeons: Men-only research risks lives of women with fatal condition