£38,000 settlement for clinical negligence – claim for pressure sore injuries sustained from negligent nursing care

Our client v a NHS Trust

Year of incident: 2021

Date of Settlement: 2024

Acting: Millie Bolsover, clinical negligence executive at Wake Smith Solicitor

Facts:
Millie Bolsover of Wake Smith Solicitors succeed in recovering compensation in the sum of £38,000 for our client who sustained pressure ulcers whilst an inpatient at a Hospital in October 2021. 

Our Client, a 34-year-old male with a history of Type 1 Diabetes, had originally attended the Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) via ambulance in early October 2021.

He was found to have low blood pressure and was suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. When the paramedics arrived, he was so unwell that he was unable to stand and walk to the ambulance.

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious condition which can sometimes develop in people with diabetes. It occurs when a lack of insulin allows harmful substances (ketones) to build up in the blood. It can be life threatening and therefore requires urgent treatment in hospital.

Our client was therefore admitted to Hospital where he was treated for his diabetic ketoacidosis and peripheral neuropathy (another condition which can occur in people with diabetes). In peripheral neuropathy, nerves in a person’s extremities, such as the hands, feet and arms, are damaged.

Due to the extent of our client’s illness, he was unable to stand or transfer himself from his hospital bed to a chair during his time in hospital. He was therefore reliant on nursing staff to assist him with repositioning in an attempt to prevent pressure ulcers (also known as pressure sores).

Unfortunately, the nursing staff failed to adequately assess our client’s risk of pressure ulcers and to put in place (and follow) an adequate care plan to prevent the same. Our client remained an inpatient on the ward until 2 November 2021 when he was discharged home. He developed grade 4 pressure ulcers to his left buttock and his sacrum (lower back around his coccyx).

A grade 4 pressure ulcer is the most severe type of pressure ulcer. It involves the entire thickness of the skin and usually results in tissue necrosis where the surrounding skin starts to die. The underlying muscle and bone can also be damaged, and it can result in a person developing a life-threatening infection. The ulcer usually appears as a deep cavity-like wound.

Our client’s pressure ulcers were managed by the district nurses who would visit him daily. He reattended hospital in December 2021 with concerns about the healing of the pressure ulcer to his sacrum. It was recorded that the bone at the base of his spine was visible through his pressure ulcer. The wound was tested for infection.

Eventually, in March 2022, due to ongoing issues with healing of the pressure ulcer he was admitted to hospital for surgery to remove some of the dead tissue and to drain infection from the ulcer cavity. Unfortunately, he had to be admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ITU) thereafter as he developed respiratory failure.

Fortunately, our client recovered and was discharged home, and back into the care of the district nurses in early April 2022. It took another year for both pressure ulcers to heal.  He has been left with scarring as a result.

Allegations:

The client alleged:

Subsequently, the Claimant sustained category 4 pressure ulcer to his sacrum, constituting a breach of duty.

Injuries:

It was the Claimant’s case that had the pressure care been adequate and appropriate during his hospital admission of 8 October 2021, the Claimant would not have sustained:

Expert evidence:

We instructed experts to prepare reports for the client in the disciplines of:

Admission of liability:

The Trust settled the case, accepting liability.

It admitted:

The settlement figure reflected this.

No admission was made with regards to the extent of the Claimant’s injuries, his current condition, and future prognosis.

The Proceedings:

Settled out of court. 

Settlement:

The claim settled for a value of £38,000.

 

We have a wealth of experience in resolving disputes for those who have suffered a medical injury from Private or NHS treatment including:

For further information, or for specific advice please contact our leading clinical and medical negligence team on 0114 266 6660.

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