The client suffered an accident at work on the 27th October 2008 when she was employed at the Chesterfield Royal Hospital as a Medical Scientist. The hospital uses a ‘sample-podding system’ to transport samples around the hospital in pods.
On the day of the accident the client was loading four empty pods into the ‘pod return tube’ when she noticed that there was a specimen in the final pod. The client subsequently reached out for the pod with her left arm and received a large electric shock to her left arm and breast that she described as three-pronged bolt of electricity. The client reported the incident to the A&E department, but was forced to continue working as she was the only person present.
The injury caused immediate severe pain and weakness and later muscle wastage in her left upper arm. She experienced a loss of grip in her left arm, pins and needles in the fingers and burn marks on her forearm, upper arm and under her left breast. The client suffered constant aching pain which was exacerbated by repetitive movement, and suffered a severely weakened grip in her left hand such that she dropped several valuable vases and hand great difficulty dressing and doing her own hair and make-up. She was able to drive only very rarely. Her husband helped her extensively with all of these tasks and took over all household chores including help with cooking.
Further, the pain she experienced as a result of the accident was persistent and significant to a degree that she experienced significant psychological problems. The client found it very stressful and difficult to go out in public, meet new people, and she spent a lot less time with her friends as she preferred to sit at home.
In late 2009 when the client was still suffering with the physical and psychological symptoms caused by the accident, she also contracted swine flu. This caused her perception of pain to worsen, exacerbating her already severe, persistent symptoms. This subsequently led to her being prescribed Amitriptyline by her GP to try and manage the pain. However, the client suffered a severe adverse reaction the drug. This resulted in cognitive impairments such that the client was immediately unable to stand steadily and with proper balance, further to her speech being slurred. The client couldn’t recall the correct words for things and she was unable to read. She couldn’t hear properly and had no knowledge of what anything meant and lost spatial awareness. She describes the experience as terrifying and felt as if she was going to die.
She was like this for a number of months and still suffers to some extent today. The client was forced to entirely re-learn how to do her job and be re-trained as she lost her memory. This was tremendously embarrassing and she still finds it difficult to make decisions and fact meetings. Memory issues still trouble her and the client still goes deaf when stressed and she finds reading difficult.
The client suffered severely reduced confidence where before she was sociable, outgoing and confident. Prior to the accident she led an exciting life; they had no children so her and her husband would take holidays, socialise, and play various sports. She now struggles with all of these as a result of her arm. She currently finds it very difficult to do anything with the arm as a result of pain and severely weakened grip and even finds reading a book or newspaper difficult due to the pain of lifting it. She still cannot go shopping nor do the cleaning. The client’s elderly mother is also ill with a heart condition and the client finds it difficult to look after her as a result of her injuries.
The client was diagnosed with relatively severe chronic Adjustment Disorder, anxiety and depression by a Pain Consultant. The expert was of the opinion that the prescribed Amitriptyline complicated her symptoms and as a result still suffers with chronic Adjustment Disorder.
The defendants admitted liability on 7th October 2009. The client to this day experiences tingling in the digits of her left hand and milder side effects from the Amitriptyline affecting her memory. Following extensive negotiations the claim was settled out of court with the defendants accepting the claimant’s offer of £80,000.
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