£31,000 Compensation for Neglect on a Hospital Ward

Author:
David Thomas
Partner, Medical Negligence Claims
Date:
08/05/2019

A Medical Negligence Case Study - Client Situation

Mr Thawley, an ex-serviceman aged 84, was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary with a broken leg following a fall at his home. He was assessed by the orthopaedic team and considered to have a high risk of post-operative complications.

During his two week admission on a general ward, he was regularly visited by his daughter, who was shocked by the sub-standard nursing care her father received. He was often left in a side room in a neglected and distressed state. She noted that he appeared dehydrated and malnourished and that his appearance was generally untidy.

He was also disorientated, scared and found it difficult to communicate. Furthermore, on one occasion, she was horrified to discover him sitting in his own faeces.

Whenever she complained to the nurses, they came across as disinterested and lacking in compassion. As the days passed, Mr Thawley complained more frequently about soreness on his heels, buttocks and lower back region and it was eventually discovered that he had a grade 4 pressure sore on his heel and grade 2 pressure sores in his sacral area.

How We Helped

Mr Thawley’s family contacted our Medical Negligence Solicitors and we took on the case on a No Win, No Fee basis. Clinical Negligence Partner David Thomas, arranged a medical examination with an independent plastic surgeon to assess his condition.

The types of pressure sores Mr Thawley had developed, which are also known as bed sores or pressure ulcers, are invariably caused as a result of neglect in the care and management of elderly, immobile, injured or disabled persons.

The main risk factor for the development of pressure sores is not being able to move around and any illness or injury that results in a person having to stay in bed for a long time increases the risk. Old age is a further risk factor as in the case of Mr Thawley, and it’s also known that pressure sores can have serious or even life-threatening complications such as sepsis.

Partner David Thomas argued that the hospital nursing staff could have prevented the bed sores with better training, supervision and education, which would or should have emphasised the importance of repositioning vulnerable patients to relieve prolonged pressure on the bony areas of the heels and lower back. They should also have used bed positioning devices, such as pillows, a specialised mattress, foam wedges and suchlike.

The Outcome

The Hospital Trust eventually admitted negligence and agreed to settle the case out of Court for a total compensation settlement of £31,000. On the basis of the medical report obtained, we were able to claim back all the care home fees, which Mr Thawley had paid out from his savings during his long recovery period after being discharged from hospital.

We were also able recover compensation for his pain, suffering and loss of amenity and any other losses and expenses caused by the hospital’s negligence.

Speaking after the settlement was reached, Mr Thawley said, “I had to go through a terrible ordeal during my stay at Leicester Royal Infirmary, but thanks to David Thomas of Simpson Millar, I got justice in the end.”

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