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Failures in care and lack of consent led to PTSD

Failures in care and lack of consent led to PTSD
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Shoosmiths medical negligence partner, Andrea Rusbridge, recently settled a claim for our client who developed a fear of needles (trypanophobia) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a hospital admission to have a PEG tube replaced, where an arterial blood sample was taken by force, which caused her significant trauma.

Andrea successfully settled the claim against the hospital following a mediation. This enabled our client to receive an oral apology and discuss with a representative of the Trust how treatment could be improved for others as well as resolving the claim financially. Given our clint’s experience, mediation was Andrea’s preferred route to settle the claim since it was substantially less stressful than proceeding to a trial. 

A PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) feeding tube is placed through the skin and the stomach wall, going directly into the stomach. In 2019 our client was admitted to have her PEG tube re-sited. However, during the procedure, a plastic disc was left in situ and our client developed an infection around the PEG tube area. 

Following this procedure, our client was admitted as an inpatient and a further procedure to extend the wound was carried out against her will, without her consent and without anaesthetic. Unsurprisingly, our client was traumatised even more by this and had developed exacerbated PTSD. 

Turning to Shoosmiths for help, our client’s claim was handled by Andrea Rusbridge, who progressed things rapidly after the defendant hospital admitted failings in the care our client received. As part of the claim, Shoosmiths instructed a psychiatrist, who confirmed that our client had developed a psychiatric injury in the form of a needle phobia and PTSD as a result of the admitted negligence.  

Andrea successfully settled the claim against the hospital following a mediation. This enabled our client to receive an oral apology and discuss with a representative of the Trust how treatment could be improved for others as well as resolving the claim financially. Given our client’s experience, mediation was Andrea’s preferred route to settle the claim since it was substantially less stressful than proceeding to a trial.

However, equally important for Andrea was investigating treatments that would help our client overcome those issues she faced. Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), a fairly new type of psychotherapy for treating PTSD and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) treatment was recommended to aid our client’s recovery, but although she engaged with CBT, she did not find it helpful. 

Since then, our client has undergone hypnotherapy via Zoom and has made tremendous progress with her psychiatric injuries. She has expressed the view that it is worth trying alternative treatments if the standard therapy recommended doesn’t work. 

Andrea comments:

“This was a disturbing claim because my client was exposed to three traumatic incidents in a short space of time, all of which could and should not have been avoided. Of particular concern was the failure to gain consent before proceeding with treatment on two of those occasions, which should never happen.”

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Disclaimer

This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2022

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