Irwin Mitchell’s medical negligence experts negotiated a seven-figure sum for a woman who suffered from serious, debilitating pressure sores while hospitalised for a spinal injury.
Our client, Kathleen, was involved in a serious road traffic collision in October 2007. She suffered spinal cord injuries and was left paraplegic.
Kathleen spent time in two hospitals after the accident and received substandard care of her pressure areas at both. She went on to develop skin marking and skin breakdown, as well as frank sores and ulceration.
On 15 November 2007, a scheduled surgical procedure to stabilise her thoracic spine was postponed due to the risk of infection. Instead, a pressure sore at the base of Kathleen’s spine was removed. But this sacral sore continued to leak, was assessed as grade 4 and became infected. In April 2008, Kathleen underwent excision of the pressure sore and subsequent closure with skin taken from her buttocks.
Kathleen then went through a prolonged healing period, complicated by infection and discharge of pus. There were further attempts to remove the infected skin, followed by vacuum-assisted closures, and in May she was transferred to a specialist spinal unit.
She was eventually discharged to a nursing home in September 2010 – a particularly distressing experience for a woman in her early 30s – and finally moved into her own property provided by the local authority in April 2012.
Clinical negligence solicitor Rebecca Cherry, assisted by Richard Kayser, secured an award of £1 million after the defendants admitted liability for Kathleen’s pressure sores. They conceded that these debilitating pressure sores wouldn’t have developed but for the substandard care received by Kathleen.
Commenting on the case, Rebecca said: “Kathleen’s case serves as a stark reminder of the need for improved vigilance and nursing practice in relation to the prevention of pressure sores to ensure patient safety. I hope lessons will be learnt so that the devastating consequences suffered by Kathleen can be avoided in the future.”
“This case sets an important precedent highlighting that the effects of pressure sores are far reaching and have long term effects, therefore sufferers should be compensated not only for the pain and distress caused at the time of the pressure sore but also the impact on their independence and long term tissue viability.”
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