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Hospital failure to prevent injury

by Shoosmiths

Hospital failure to prevent injury

£25,000 compensation awarded as hospital failed to prevent elderly patient from suffering from a severe pressure sore

Gladys, who was aged 88, was admitted to hospital with a bilateral pulmonary embolism. On admission it was noted that her skin was very fragile and bruised. She was assessed as being at a very high risk of suffering from skin breakdown and was supposed to be turned on an air mattress every four hours.

An air mattress was ordered for Gladys the following day, however, in the meantime she was nursed on a foam mattress. The same day it was noted that her bottom was becoming red. Two days later a large blister was found on her heel. The air mattress had still not arrived and a further order was placed.

Gladys was assessed the next day by a tissue viability nurse who put into place a care plan for the pressure sore on Gladys’s left heel which by this point now spanned 5cm in diameter. Unfortunately, the pressure sore on Gladys heel did not heal during her hospital admission and was recorded as a grade 3 severity (extremely deep) when she was discharged from hospital over a month later.

After being discharged Gladys required regular visits at home from the district nurses for nine months until the wound began to heel. She suffered from significant pain and discomfort as a result of the pressure sore which interfered with her sleep. It also caused her to become unsteady on her feet.

Gladys sought help from a Shoosmiths specialist clinical negligence solicitor who assisted her in bringing a claim against the hospital for their failure to put into practice their own policy to maintain skin integrity. Their failure to do so caused Gladys a significant degree of avoidable pain and suffering.

Gladys was awarded £25,000 in compensation.