Hospital attack causes student nurse rib injuries and loss of self-confidence


A 61-year-old student nurse at a Nottingham hospital has been awarded £3,500 compensation after an unprovoked attack by a dementia patient.

Risk of Accident in the Work Place

When the incident occurred in March 2010, our client was employed through Nottingham University on the Dementia Ward at Ashfield Community Hospital.

Momentarily left alone

Among her routine daily duties was to 'shadow' a full-time healthcare worker in order to learn normal nursing procedures. However, our client had been momentarily left alone when she noticed that 1 of the ward patients had undone a safety belt and was trying to rise from a chair.

Our client immediately called a healthcare worker. Aware of the situation, the colleague tried to stop the patient from leaving the chair, despite the patient's violent reaction.

Kick in the ribs caused soft tissue injury

As the patient lashed out at the worker, our client was unavoidably caught up in the scuffle. Kicked hard in the ribs by the patient, the nurse was injured.

Later examinations, by an orthopaedic surgeon and a consultant psychiatrist, revealed that our client had sustained soft tissue injuries to her ribs. This was compounded by a loss of self-confidence which she found to be a setback both professionally and personally.

Forced to miss several weeks of her nursing course, she was ultimately unable to complete her training.

No risk aggression training given by NHS trust

It also transpired that her employers at the NHS trust had given our client no risk aggression training. This meant she was unaware of how to react to a violent situation, or what measures she should take to assist her colleague in restraining the patient.

Although we first pursued a claim against both Nottingham University and Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, the trust admitted liability for the incident.

Simpson Millar praised for winning £3,500 damages

For the injuries and distress caused because of the trust's serious breaches of health and safety regulations, our client was awarded compensation of £3,500.

In a generous appraisal of our services, our client wrote: "I have appreciated the guidance from you at Simpson Millar LLP, also the professional way each stage has been dealt with, never losing sight of the human frailty in situations of this kind. Thank you very much for the kind and thorough support."

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