Courts Awards Woman Compensation for London Ambulance Delay

A woman, who was diagnosed with PTSD after waiting fifty minutes for emergency services to attend to her dislocated knee, has been awarded £522,379 in compensation for a London ambulance delay.

Ceri Leigh (50) from Wimbledon in Surrey dislocated her right kneecap in November 2008 while trying to get off a bus. She was unable to move for 50 minutes while she waited in pain for a London Ambulance to arrive and take her to hospital.

Due to the extended delay and the physical trauma Ceri suffered, her knee did not fully recover for eighteen months – during which time she was housebound and suffered flashbacks, nightmares and dissociative seizures.

Ceri was medically retired from her position as Exhibitions Manager at the Natural History Museum and returned to live in South Wales due to financial pressures. There, Ceri was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and she sought legal advice to claim compensation for the London ambulance delay – the trigger which her psychiatrist considered to be the cause of her condition.

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust acknowledged that there had been an avoidable seventeen minute delay in dispatching an ambulance to attend to Ceri, but disputed the link to her psychiatric issues and the amount of compensation for a London ambulance delay that was being claimed.

The NHS Trust also argued that Ceri had been suffering family and financial problems which could have both triggered her PTSD but, at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Globe ruled that he was satisfied Ceri´s seizures were part of the PTSD she had been diagnosed with and were attributable to the trauma she experienced while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

The judge awarded Ceri £522,379 in compensation for a London ambulance delay, saying that every additional minute that the emergency services were delayed had added to Ceri´s trauma until she was left in “utter despair”.