Hospital fails to learn from its mistakes

In 2007 Mr L developed pressure sores on both of his heels during a stay in hospital due to him not receiving an appropriate pressure relieving mattress. He instructed us to bring a claim on his behalf and as a result we were successful in recovering a significant amount of compensation.

Although Mr L’s wounds eventually healed he was required to follow a rigorous foot care regime in order to stop further sores developing, due to the increased vulnerability identified by our plastic surgeon.

In 2012 Mr L was readmitted to the same hospital. Mr L had diligently maintained his skin care regime and as a result had suffered no further pressure injuries to his heels. Despite being injury free for around 4 years after only two weeks in the hospital it was noticed that pressure sores had been allowed to develop on both of Mr L’s heels. When his notes were consulted it was quickly apparent that the nursing staff had failed to follow the required skin care regime for the entire time Mr L had been admitted.

Around a month after these second pressure wounds developed Mr L was told that he had contracted MRSA, with the infection having entered his body through the new sores on his heels. As a result he was again admitted to hospital and started on a course of very strong antibiotics with some very unpleasant side effects.

Unfortunately Mr L passed away shortly after this admission for reasons unrelated to the MRSA or his pressure injuries. After his death Mr L’s wife instructed us to bring a claim against the hospital for the suffering her husband had experienced before his death as a result of the pressure sores.

After investigating the claim we formally put our allegations of negligence to the hospital. The hospital admitted that they had been at fault but denied that Mr L’s MRSA was a result of the pressure injury. A very low offer of compensation was made. This was not accepted and as no further appropriate offers were made we issued court proceedings. Shortly after the issue of proceedings, and following further negotiations with the hospital, the case finally settled at an appropriate amount.

This was a very unfortunate case of a man repeatedly let down by the same hospital, and suffering entirely preventable injuries as a result. It is hoped that following Mr L’s second admission better procedures have been put in place at the hospital to minimise the risk of these preventable pressure injuries occurring in the future.

Dan Richardson, April 2015