Family Of Man Neglected In Care Home: ‘His Pain And Suffering Were Ignored’

Lawyers At Irwin Mitchell Secure Settlement For Family Who Are Demanding Higher Standards At Care Home To Be Maintained In Future

17.01.2012

The family of a man who suffered dehydration and acute kidney problems when he was neglected by staff at a Doncaster care home say they can finally move on with their lives after medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell succeeded in a negligence claim against the home.

The family of Michael Shorthouse, who was hospitalised in 2007 when his condition deteriorated whilst living at the Cedars Care Home on Cedar Road, say they hope nobody else has to go through the ordeal that Michael did and call for better care for adults with learning difficulties

After Mr Shorthouse was hospitalised, medical lawyers at Irwin Mitchell examined the case. Following their investigation, the Care Home accepted that the treatment given to Michael was negligent.  The lawyers then secured a settlement on his behalf for the pain and suffering he went through whilst he lived, neglected, at the home for five months despite his family’s repeated pleas for help.

The Care Home was also reported to Social Services and the Safeguarding Adults Office (SAO) which investigated and found there had been overall neglect in the care given.

Sarah Rowland, an Associate Solicitor in the medical law team at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Two years after Mr Shorthouse was hospitalised, the care home hadn’t improved and was given a zero-star rating in a Care Quality Commission inspection. This was a real blow to the family, as it felt like their loved one’s suffering had been ignored and forgotten.

“It’s very sad that Mr Shorthouse isn’t alive to see the conclusion of this case but I’m very pleased the care home has admitted that the treatment given to him was negligent.  Hopefully no one else will have to suffer like Michael did.  Mr Shorthouse’s family can now begin to move on with their lives.”

Michael suffered from Down’s syndrome, learning difficulties and dementia. He moved in to Cedars Care Home in May 2007 but, despite his family’s repeated pleas over his treatment, within five months his health had deteriorated so much he had to be sent to hospital.

Doctors found that he was severely dehydrated, had developed acute kidney problems and pressure sores, and had aspiration pneumonia, which is an inflammation of the lungs caused by breathing in foreign material like food or liquids.

The hospital was so concerned about the neglect that they called upon Social Services and the Safeguarding Adults Office (SAO) to launch an investigation, which found there had been overall neglect in the care given. Serious questions were also raised about the way his medication was managed.

Mr Shorthouse’s condition improved once he had been transferred to hospital and he moved into a different nursing home, but he died in 2010.

Mrs Susan Bown, Mr Shorthouse’s sister, said: “The treatment that Michael was given was completely unacceptable.  There is no excuse for treating people so badly.  There was no dignity or respect shown to him and even when we told the staff about our concerns, we were ignored.  Michael had learning difficulties and relied on staff at the home to care for him.  Instead they neglected him so badly that he needed hospital treatment”.

“Even on the morning he was admitted to hospital the nurses delayed calling an ambulance for him and he was heavily dosed up with sedatives. He was also suffering from malnutrition and doctors said that he was so poorly that if his heart stopped, they wouldn’t resuscitate him”.

“Although nothing will bring Michael back, we feel that now things have changed we can start moving on with our lives. We demand the standards at care homes improve so that hopefully no other families will have to go through what we’ve been through.”

If you or a loved one has been abused or neglected whilst in a care, our care & nursing home abuse claims team could help you to secure compensation. See our Elder Abuse Compensation Claims page for more information.