Archive for September 2014

Nursing Home Scald Injury due to Medical Negligence Results in £5,000 Fine

Flintshire Magistrates have fined a company £5,000 for a nursing home scalding injury which resulted in the death of a resident.

Beatrice Morgan – a resident of the Greencroft Nursing Home in Queensferry, Flintshire – suffered a nursing home scald injury on 29th August 2012, as she was being lowered by a hoist into a bath. Eighty-eight year old Beatrice cried out in pain as she touched the water and, although nursing staff acted promptly to raise her from the bath, she was taken to the Burns Unit at Whiston Hospital with 9 percent burns on her lower legs, trunk and left arm.

Beatrice developed pneumonia and a blood clot in her lungs following her nursing home scald injury, and died of complications the following month. The Health Service Executive (HSE) initiated an investigation into the incident and found that the temperature of hot water in the nursing home was not properly controlled to prevent it exceeding the maximum safe level of 44º Celsius. They also found that no risk assessment had been carried out and there had been a lack of staff training.

As a result of the HSE investigation, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales (SCCIW) carried out its own enquiry. The SCCIW enquiry raised serious concerns about the safety of the nursing home’s residents and applied to the court for the immediate closure of the nursing home. The company who owned the nursing home – Greencroft Care Ltd – has now gone into liquidation.

The HSE prosecuted Greencroft Care Ltd for the failures of health and safety which led to the nursing home scald injury and at the Flintshire Magistrates Court the company was found guilty in its absence. At the hearing, District Judge Gwyn Jones fined Greencroft Care Ltd. £5,000 but acknowledged that the fine was likely not be paid as the company was no longer trading and had no assets. He added that, had the company still existed, he would have referred the case to the Crown Court.

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Compensation for a Child´s Cerebral Palsy Injury Approved at Dublin High Court

A settlement of compensation for a child´s cerebral palsy injury has been approved at Dublin High Court despite issues over negligence and liability.

On 9th June 1998, Emma O´Donnell was born at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin by suction birth. Soon after she had been delivered, Emma started turning blue and suffered a series of seizures. She was diagnosed with a cerebral palsy injury and now requires full-time care due to an intellectual disability and behavioural problems.

Now sixteen years of age, Emma has been cared for by her father – James Forde from Aklow in County Wicklow – since 2007, when her mother was diagnosed with a significant bi-polar condition and institutionalised. James gave up his job to look after Emma and has been her full-time carer ever since.

On Emma´s behalf, James claimed compensation for a child´s cerebral palsy injury against the National Maternity Hospital and the Health Service Executive (HSE), but he encountered difficulties establishing a connection between the standard of care Emma had received before and after her birth, and the cerebral palsy.

Solicitors engaged by James on Emma´s behalf attempted to recover €9 million compensation for a child´s cerebral palsy injury, but the HSE capped the value of the claim at €6 million and said that the payment was subject to full proof of negligence being established.

After a period of negotiation, a compromise was agreed without admission of liability from the hospital or HSE that would see Emma receive €3 million compensation for a child´s cerebral palsy injury. As the claim had been made on behalf of a child, the proposed settlement first had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in Emma´s best interests.

Consequently, at Dublin High Court, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns was told the tragic circumstances of Emma´s birth and details of her life to date. The judge heard that the claim for compensation had been brought late in Emma´s life due to the difficulty of establishing negligence and liability, and that the hospital had provided a letter of consent to settle the claim for €3 million.

After reviewing the case, Judge Kearns agreed with Emma´s solicitors that it would be difficult to establish full proof of negligence and liability if the case went to a full hearing. The judge approved the settlement of compensation for a child´s cerebral palsy injury – commenting that the care that had been provided by James for Emma was “heroic”.

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Hospital Bed Sores Claim could be Resolved for Millions

A hospital bed sores claim for compensation could be resolved for millions of pounds after a hearing at the High Court in London.

The case concerns sixty-one years old Christine Reaney who, in 2008, developed the rare spinal cord condition – myelitis – which paralysed her from the chest down. Christine, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, underwent long spells of treatment for the condition at three Staffordshire hospitals between December 2008 and October 2009, during which time she developed hospital bed sores.

Despite being first identified in January 2009, the hospital bed sores became more severe and were responsible for Christine sustaining a bone marrow infection, contracting her leg muscles and causing the dislocation of her hip.

After speaking with a solicitor, Christine made a hospital bed sores claim for compensation against the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust and the University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust – the two Trusts responsible for managing care at the Cannock Chase Hospital, the Stafford Hospital and the North Staffordshire Royal Infirmary.

In her hospital bed sores compensation claim, Christine alleged that medical staff at the three hospitals failed to take appropriate measures when the bed sores were first identified and that the subsequent deterioration of her condition was due to a failure in care.

The two NHS Trusts acknowledge their responsibility for the deterioration in Christine´s health, but Christine´s solicitor could not reach an agreement with the two NHS Trust over how much compensation for hospital bed sores Christine was entitled to.

Consequently the case went to the High Court in London where it was heard by Mr Justice Foskett. At the hearing Judge Foskett was told that Christine would need between £2 million and £3 million to pay for her future care and accommodation needs as she was expected to live into her 80s despite her paralysing condition.

Judge Foskett adjourned the hospital bed sores claim in order that financial calculations can be completed for Christine´s care needs.

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Mother Wins Medical Negligence Claim for Hospital´s Failure to Prevent DVT

A woman from Belfast has won a medical negligence claim for a hospital´s failure to prevent DVT at the time her first child was born.

The unnamed woman from Belfast was thirty-five years of age when she gave birth to her first child at the Ulster Hospital in June 2009. Shortly after delivering her child, she developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and, on attending the Accident & Emergency Department of the hospital, was told that the redness in her legs was probably due to hormones.

The woman has subsequently undergone surgery to relieve the symptoms of DVT after the delivery of two further children and now has to permanently wear support tights. She finds walking for more than 10-15 minutes exhausting and has difficulty in climbing stairs. The consequences of the surgery she has undergone to date mean that, if a DVT-related blood clot develops in her leg, she will have to have the leg amputated.

After seeking legal advice, the woman made a medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT against the South Eastern Care and Social Health Trust. She alleged in her action that she was not properly assessed as being at risk of DVT – despite being in the high-risk category – and that she should have been prescribed drugs to prevent the condition.

The South Eastern Care and Social Health Trust denied acknowledging liability for her injuries and apologising for avoidable failings in her care until the medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT was heard at Belfast Crown Court. The Trust subsequently agreed to a settlement of the claim amounting to £400,000.

Speaking after the settlement had been announced, the woman´s solicitor said “If this [medical negligence claim for the hospital´s failure to prevent DVT] serves the purpose of ensuring another person avoids this particular difficulty it will have been worthwhile. Any mum aged thirty-five or over should know they are at potential risk.”

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