Yet More Falls in the Hospital

Published: 25th August 2016

An 84 year old man broke his hip whilst getting undressed at Barnsley Hospital. He was asked to undress to be examined at which point he asked a nurse for help, which he did not receive. He subsequently fell and broke his hip.

He was understandably upset at his treatment and wrote a letter of complaint to Barnsley Hospital.

The hospital replied stating that he was independently mobile and had said he did not need any help. They also claimed that two nurses were standing, waiting for him outside of the cubicle. He swore that none of this was true. The hospital’s own notes recorded that he was very prone to falling, by their own standards hospital staff should have assisted him while undressing.

He instructed Liddys Solicitors to pursue a damages claim against Barnsley Hospital. We wrote a formal letter of claim after which the hospital admitted liability and admitted that he was not fit to get changed on his own and the nursing staff should have assisted him. No explanation was given for the hospital’s change of mind.

Unfortunately, he was suffering from terminal cancer and died on 26 May 2013. His accident had occurred nearly a year earlier, in that last year of his life he lost of all his independence. Firstly because of his broken hip and then increasingly because of his cancer.  He relied more and more on his family for his daily needs. His claim was not settled until six months after his death when he recovered £20,000.

A terrible accident by its own right was made much worse by the way his complaint was dealt with.  We have no evidence that the hospital deliberately misled our client but they clearly changed their minds when it was clear he was serious.  When the Government brings in the new rules to force hospitals to treat complaints seriously from the beginning, the terrible uncertainties that victims of medical accidents suffer and years of delay that sometime occur will be avoided.  People like our client will have their compensation within a reasonable time so that they can start to put their lives back together.

Doctors and nurses do a difficult job but even so they are expected to use reasonable skill and care.  When they do not, the effects can be devastating for the patient and their family.  It is then right that they receive damages to help them pick up the pieces and put their life back on track.

Clinical negligence is an extremely difficult area of law. It requires, more than anything, a good amount of experience. All of our solicitors have been qualified for at least eight years. To find out more about our services in clinical negligence just give us a call on 01226 731 314.