Former professional sea diver launches legal action over urgent care concerns at Bedford Hospital

Posted on: 2 mins read
Kate Sweeney

Head of Clinical Negligence

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A former professional sea diver who suffered severe injuries after a fall at home has launched legal action against Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust over concerns about the care he received after being admitted to A&E.

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The Incident and Initial Treatment

Mr Stephen Cargill, 60, from Bedford, fell from a ladder on 22nd June 2017, resulting in serious damage to his right foot and hip.

He was rushed to Bedford Hospital's Accident and Emergency department where X-rays confirmed that he was suffering from a fractured ankle, further to which he was given some pain killers and referred to the orthopaedic unit to await treatment.

However, further investigations later found that he had suffered from a Hawkins type III talar neck fracture in his right foot - a rare but well recognised severe injury to the hind foot.

Following the diagnosis Mr Cargill underwent an unsuccessful procedure to repair the damage. A decision was then made to transfer him as a matter of urgency to the Trauma Centre at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge which would be better equipped to handle the operation.

However, due to a reported lack of available beds he was not transferred to Addenbrooke’s Hospital until 25th June 2017 and did not undergo further surgery until the 26th.


Impact and Legal Action

As a result of the injuries Mr Cargill sustained he continues to suffer from physical pain which affects both his physical and mental wellbeing. He has also been unable to return to his work as a Saturation diver and has instead had to find alternative work as an HGV/LGV Driver.

Following his ordeal Mr Cargill also instructed medical law experts at Simpson Millar to investigate the care that he received.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has denied liability for the incident, but his legal team has since issued court proceedings on his behalf.

In papers filed at court they allege that medical experts had failed to recognise the extent of his injures, resulting in a lack of appropriate urgent treatment from a suitably experienced physician.


Lawyer's Comment and Trust's Position

Commenting on the case Simon Shaw, a medical negligence expert from law firm Simpson Millar, who is representing Mr Cargill in his legal claim, said: “Mr Cargill’s injuries have had a huge impact on his life. He continues to need rehabilitation and therapy to aid his ongoing recovery, and he is no longer able to do the job that he loves or participate in many of the hobbies and pastimes he once enjoyed.

“Further to our investigation into the care that he received following his fall we have raised a number of concerns about events that happened after he was admitted to hospital, including delays in both the correct diagnosis and the urgency of his treatment that he received. The legal case is ongoing, and we have recently filed papers with the courts.

“It is hoped that we can resolve this matter as quickly as possible for our client and, if there are lessons that can be learnt from Mr Cargill’s experience, that they are acted upon with urgency. Meanwhile, we welcome the Trust’s ongoing engagement with us on this matter.”

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has denied liability and court proceedings have now been issued.

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Kate Sweeney

Head of Clinical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Kate has extensive experience both in leadership and in the field of Personal Injury. She has 10 years of experience in Clinical Negligence where she handled a wide range of client files as well as managing and growing the team. For the last 16 years, Kate has worked in the area of Personal Injury, leading the team alongside managing a small caseload.

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