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Settlement following death linked to substandard nursing care

16 Apr 2021

Lauren Hall, Senior Associate in our Clinical negligence team at Hay & Kilner, acted on behalf of a Claimant who has received a five figure settlement on behalf of the Estate of a patient who passed away following an accident in hospital.

The patient was in hospital following surgery.  After surgery, the patient remained in critical care before being discharged to a ward.  It was noted that the patient was very confused due to a pre-existing medical condition.  When the patient was discharged to the ward there was failure by the nursing staff to undertake a full falls risk assessment.

Throughout time on the ward, the patient became increasingly confused and was noted to be wandering around the ward however no nursing interventions were put in place to manage the falls risk.  The patient suffered a fall whilst on the ward but again no measures were taken to reduce the risk of a further fall.  The patient then suffered a significant fall resulting in an ankle fracture which required numerous surgical interventions.  Due to the patient’s pre-existing conditions the ankle fracture never fully healed and an infection developed. This led to the patient’s death some 12 months after the initial fall.

The case was referred to the Coroner and an Inquest took place.  The family were assisted by Lauren Hall throughout the inquest process.  At Inquest, it was identified that the patient should not have been placed on that ward due to his confusion and he should have received enhanced nursing care.  It was also identified that there were a number of missed opportunities to reduce the patient’s risk of falling.

Despite the outcome of the inquest, the Defendant did not wish to make any early admissions of liability and it was necessary to obtain independent expert evidence.  Following service of the Letter of Claim, the Defendant made limited admissions.  Following negotiation, a five figure settlement award was agreed to reflect the patient’s pain, suffering and loss of amenity together with a bereavement award, and a sum for loss of financial dependency on behalf of the patient’s family.

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Lauren comments “I am pleased to have reached a settlement which appropriately reflects the pain and suffering of the patient over a prolonged period which could have been avoided had appropriate steps be taken.  I am pleased to have been able to assist this family through this claim, from the beginning at Inquest, to reaching settlement which means the family may begin to move on.”   The Claimant has also thanked Lauren for all her hard work in seeing this challenging case through to conclusion.

For more information on any of the above, or how we can help you or your family, please contact Lauren Hall, lauren.hall@hay-kilner.co.uk or a member of our Clinical Negligence team on 0191 232 8345.