Summary of background

On 14th September 2006, the claimant underwent surgery at a hospital of the defendant trust to repair a fractured femur. She subsequently complained of a loss of sensation in her left foot and it was noted that her left hip and left foot were bruised and that she was experiencing mobility problems. On 21st September 2006 thrombo-embolic-deterrent stockings were applied. A physiotherapist and a consultant visited the claimant once and noted that she was suffering from swelling and bruising but it was decided that, due to the claimant having low blood pressure, she should remain in bed. Later that day, the claimant was transferred to another hospital for a CT scan to be carried out. The scan showed that the claimant had a large haematoma. Two days later, it was found that she was completely unable to move her leg and that she was suffering neurological problems.

On 13th October 2006, the claimant was transferred to another hospital for rehabilitation and upon admission it was noticed that she had a large black necrotic area on her left heel. The area was later identified as being a grade four pressure sore and was treated daily. On 25th November 2006, the claimant was discharged from hospital.

Claimant's case

The claimant sustained injury and her daughter brought an action against the defendant on behalf of her estate, alleging that the defendant was negligent in (i) failing to recognise, in a patient such as the claimant, the risk of developing pressure sores; (ii) failing to implement the necessary procedures, including nurse intervention, to ensure that pressure sores did not develop. It was alleged that, but for those failures, the claimant would not have developed the pressure sore or, if she had developed the sore, then appropriate treatment would have limited the damage she had suffered.

Defendant's case

Liability admitted in part. The defendant admitted that inadequate nursing care had been provided which had caused the claimant discomfort and inconvenience but that it was not possible to say with certainty that the development of a pressure sore could have been prevented with acceptable nursing care.

Settlement

The claim was settled out of court for the total sum of £40,000 which can be broken down as follows:

General Damages:  £20,000 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity;

Special Damages:   Past travel and miscellaneous expenses:- £700;
                             Past gratuitous care costs:- £19,300.