Lee Silk and Victoria Simon recently secured a successful settlement for their client acting in a clinical negligence claim against an NHS Trust.
Our client was mobile, largely independent and in relatively good health prior to being admitted to hospital to have hip surgery. Our client is elderly and the operation was successful. However, during their time as an inpatient, the hospital failed to identify and monitor pressure areas on our client’s heels which led to our client developing pressure sores. Our client’s heels were noted to be black and were assessed at grade 3 once detected by the hospital and a serious incident investigation was carried out. Category 3 sores take a significant amount of time to heal and the sores are at greater risk of both infection and deeper lasting injury to the affected areas.
As a result of the incident, our client’s mobility was significantly reduced to the point they required a Zimmer frame in order to walk and they required substantial care and assistance from carers/their family members in order to carry out usual day-to-day activities, which they could previously do unaided prior to the incident. Our client requires home visits from a podiatrist for several months after the incident, who advised them that their heels will always be vulnerable to developing pressures sores now and will always need to be continually monitored, due to the severity of the sores.
After sending a robust letter of claim to the hospital, liability was admitted (subject to causation) and the parties moved on to the issue of quantum. The case involved complex arguments relating to causation and how our client’s current condition compared to their notional post-surgery condition, had the injuries to the heels not occurred. Medical evidence was obtained in respect of our client’s care needs, future prognosis and life expectancy. Careful consideration to life expectancy was required in order to suitably assess quantum in the claim, given our client’s mature age and future loss. The claim settled for £55,000 with the NHS paying our client’s costs. We acted on a no-win, no-fee basis.