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£125,000 compensation secured in successful clinical negligence claim

30 Nov 2017

Helen Morland, Partner in our Clinical Negligence team at Hay & Kilner LLP, acted on behalf of a client who was awarded £125,000 following the failure to prevent and appropriately manage the development of multiple pressure ulcers on her sacrum, buttocks and right foot.

On 1 August 2011, our client, who had advanced multiple sclerosis, was admitted to hospital suffering from Bullous Pemphigoid, a skin disorder characterised by large blisters. Whilst an inpatient, she developed a pressure ulcer on her sacrum and was later discharged by the hospital. She was visited by community nurses on a daily basis to provide care and support and to manage her ulcer.

In October 2011, our client developed numerous superficial ulcers on her sacrum. Later that month, our client was reviewed again and was found to have a red, sore area consistent with at least Grade I tissue damage underneath one of her buttocks. The wound was attributed to either a burst blister or tissue damage caused by increased friction as a consequence of being dragged by her husband and carers across her mattress on account of her immobility caused by her multiple sclerosis.

By December, our client’s sacrum had significantly deteriorated and the wound was black, sloughy and much larger than in previous months. The wound was consistent with Grade III tissue damage and she also presented with Grade II tissue damage on her right heel.

As a result, our client was admitted to hospital as an emergency in December 2011. The pressure ulcers had caused a chronic blood infection and our client was referred to the plastic surgery team. However, she was in a critical state and too ill to undergo surgery and it was felt that no operative help could be offered. Our client was discharged one week later in the hope that the wound would heal from the inside out.

Helen Morland

In January 2012, our client was readmitted to hospital as the wound became infected and was bleeding, weeping and failing to heal. Our client was admitted to the hospital on multiple occasions suffering with chronic blood infections and pneumonia consequent upon the gravity of the pressure ulcers which took over 36 months to heal.

We obtained supportive, independent medical evidence from a nursing expert and a vascular surgeon to report on breach of duty and causation. Thereafter we submitted a Letter of Claim to the relevant Hospital Trust. It was alleged that on the balance of probabilities, the development of an ulcer on the sacrum, ulcers on the right buttock and multiple foot wounds would have been prevented had an individualised care plan been put in place following our client’s initial discharge from hospital in August 2011. Further, it was alleged that the development and maintenance of severe pressure sores caused acceleration in the deterioration of our client’s progressive multiple sclerosis.

We were successful in negotiating a settlement for our client and compensation of £125,000 was agreed in full and final settlement. The compensation included claims for our client’s pain and suffering, specialised equipment and implementation of a care package. The Defendant also agreed to pay our client’s legal costs and expenses.

If you have suffered an injury as a result of clinical negligence, please contact Helen Morland, partner in our Clinical Negligence team.

Call: 0191 232 8345

Email: Helen.Morland@hay-kilner.co.uk