£31,000 Compensation for Neglect on a Hospital Ward

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Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

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A Medical Negligence Claim 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 be high risk for 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. During his stay, 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 – which falls far behind a hospital’s duty of care standards.

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.

A grade 4 pressure ulcer/sore is the most severe type of pressure sore on the scale. This caused the skin to be severely damaged, and the surrounding tissues to die – which is called tissue necrosis. This grade of sore can also result in damage to the muscle or joint, and life-threatening infections.

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How We Helped

Mr Thawley’s family contacted our Medical Negligence Lawyers and we took on the case on a No Win, No Fee basis. Our Medical Negligence Lawyer arranged a medical examination with an independent plastic surgeon to assess Mr Thawley’s 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. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the rate of pressure ulcers only affect  4–10% of patients admitted to hospitals in the UK – and more often than not, they are predominantly elderly, bedridden, or end of life care. It is noted that patients that are not turned, positioned correctly, and given good nutrition and skin care are also a cause for concern for bed ulcers. 

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.

A Partner at Simpson Millar 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.

Mr Thawley said, "I had to go through a terrible ordeal during my stay at Leicester Royal Infirmary, but thanks to Simpson Millar, I got justice in the end."

How Simpson Millar Can Help 

Official figures published in The Times in April 2023 show that The NHS spent £160 million paying out bereaved families last year for failures resulting in death, including after equipment malfunction, bacterial infection and medication errors – meaning that medical negligence is an increasingly growing claims process.

We understand that taking legal action can be daunting, but we pride ourselves on our friendly and supportive approach. When you come to us, you can expect a personal service tailored to you and your needs – Contact our Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free claims assessment, by calling us on 0808 239 6043.


Leicester Hospitals NHS Trust. (n.d.). Leicester Royal Infirmary. Retrieved from https://www.leicestershospitals.nhs.uk/aboutus/our-hospitals/leicester-royal-infirmary/

National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). (2015). Prevention and Management of Pressure Ulcers: A Research Agenda. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4413488/.

NHS. (n.d.). Pressure Sores (Bedsores). Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pressure-sores/

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). (2014). Pressure ulcers: Risk assessment, prevention and management. Retrieved from https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg179/documents/pressure-ulcers-scope2.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Bedsores (Pressure Ulcers). Retrieved from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/bedsores.

NHS. (n.d.). Sepsis. Retrieved from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/sepsis/

The Times. (n.d.). NHS spends £1m a week on failed legal battles with the bereaved. Retrieved from https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/nhs-spends-1m-a-week-on-failed-legal-battles-with-the-bereaved-pmjjvrccl

Kate McCue

Medical Negligence Associate Solicitor

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Kate joined the Clinical Negligence department at Simpson Millar in January 2023 after previously working at Chris Kallis Solicitors in Plymouth. Kate qualified as a solicitor in 2004 and has developed extensive experience in both Personal Injury and Medical Negligence.   

Initially Kate started working as a Defendant Solicitor for firms such as Bond Pearce LLP and DAC Beachcroft Claims Ltd. This has allowed Kate to develop a tactical advantage to her cases, using the experience of how a claim is dealt with from a Defendant’s perspective. 

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