Pressure sore causes death

K was in her late 80s when she was admitted to hospital with a pinched nerve in her neck which left her unable to move her arms or legs.  Surgery was not recommended due to her age and she remained in hospital awaiting physiotherapy which unfortunately she was never able to undergo.

Just over two months later she was discharged into a care home but during her time in hospital she had developed a grade 3 pressure sore on her right heel which had become infected.  She sadly passed away a further two months later, with the death certificate recording one of the 3 causes of death as her infected pressure sore.

The case was investigated on behalf of her family/Estate and the hospital accepted that no appropriate risk assessment was carried out during her time at the hospital. They accepted that this would have identified that K was at a high risk of developing pressure sores, and that she should therefore have been nursed on a pressure relieving mattress.  They also agreed that no appropriate care plan was prepared or wound assessment carried out which meant that once the pressure sore had been noticed it continued to deteriorate without the required treatment.

The hospital agreed that as a result of the substandard nursing care she received she went on to develop a grade 3 pressure sore on her right heel which became infected and on the balance of probabilities, contributed to her death. K’s estate accepted £15,000 compensation representing funeral expenses, travel expenses on behalf of her relatives and her pain and suffering up to an including her death.

Andrew Walker