Tag Archives: nursing care

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

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