Compensation for a Hospital Fall
When an elderly client fell from her hospital bed our medical negligence solicitors found that the fall could have been prevented. However, due to failures in the nursing care plan, we secured a settlement of £68,000 for our client.
Our client, who was 78 at the time, was mobile and living alone. She initially went to the hospital for an X-ray of her lumbar spine after experiencing pain in her hip and back. Although the X-ray found no concerns with her hips the X-ray on her lumbar showed signs of scoliosis and compression fractures.
The initial treatment was medication for the pain and physiotherapy. However, her mobility continued to decline and when her pain worsened, she was taken to Tameside General Hospital and admitted to the Acute Medical Unit. No evidence of hip fractures was found on a follow-up X-ray but her pain continued and she could not bear weight.
Falls and Injuries in Hospital
The nursing admission document noted that a Falls Care Plan was not required but a further assessment identified two relevant risk factors. She was considered to be at high risk of falls and adult safety rails were needed for her hospital bed.
Our client needed supervision and assistance to stand and transfer when walking from one place to another. The medical plan was only for pain management and physiotherapy and a further Fall Prevention Care Plan was mostly left blank with no interventions recorded.
Failures in Nursing Care Plan
Our client became confused and more unsteady on her feet, but at no point was there evidence of a review of the Fall Preventions Care Plan or the Fall Risk Assessment.
It was noted to the nursing staff that her fluid intake became limited whilst in hospital and she was confused and drowsy. She had been in hospital for a period of weeks when she was discovered on the floor after falling from her hospital bed. After the fall, it was noted that our client had fractured her hip and had to have an operation to repair it and spend time in a rehabilitation unit.
Whilst in rehabilitation our client fell again due to failures from the first hip operation causing a secondary fracture and further operation. By this time our client had been in the hospital for five months but once she was discharged she did make good progress at home.
Negligence in Nursing Care
We successfully represented our client's case on the grounds that her nursing care was substandard. Due to the high risk of falling, reasonable precautions should have been made and no responsible nurse would have concluded that a Fall Preventions Care Plan wasn't required.
Our Medical Negligence Solicitors stated that our client should have:
- been given a call bell
- constantly reminded not to attempt to get out of bed
- her hospital bed rails should have been in place
- her hospital bed could have been placed in a high-visibility area
- her risk status should have been communicated between nurses
- appropriate nursing supervision should have been in place
It was also noted that a sensor alarm could have been used to alert nurses to our client's attempts to assist herself and crash mats could have been placed at the side of her bed.
Compensation for a fall in a hospital
A settlement of over £68,000 was made by the Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.
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“In this case, it was a catalogue of errors that led to a severe lack of care for our client,“ said Medical Negligence Solicitor, Daniel Phelps.
“Her medical negligence award takes into account the pain and suffering, care, aids and equipment needs, as well as adaptations at her home. As a result of the failures in care, she spent a long time in hospital, sustained two fractures and lost a lot of her independence and mobility.” he added
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.