£2.89m awarded for loss of amenity and future care
Compensation of £2,894,814 was awarded in 2014 to a 67 year old woman for the catastrophic effects of pressure sores developed as a result of clinical negligence in hospital six years earlier.
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The claimant was admitted to hospital in 2008 for a spinal condition. The condition left her paralysed below the mid thoracic region in the middle of her back.
During her hospitalisation she developed pressure sores to her sacrum and her ischial tuberosities at the base of her back and top of her thighs.
The pressure sores were deep. They led to an infection of her bone marrow, shortening of her leg muscles and a hip dislocation.
The claimant's legs were deformed as a result. She was unable to sit upright without falling to the left.
She was only able to sit in her wheelchair for four hours at most. The rest of the day she had to remain in bed.
Before being admitted to hospital the lady's ill health needed seven hours of care per week. She now needed care 24 hours a day. This would be necessary for the rest of her life.
Two professional care workers were necessary. The claimant's house needed to be changed to enable them to live in.
The pressure sores and their consequences made a significant difference to the claimant's well-being. Her quality of life was reduced. She was disabled prior to developing the bed sores but her disability was far more serious afterwards.
She would be unable to carry out any household tasks. Her ability to manoeuvre herself in her wheelchair would cease. Her waking hours would be spent mainly in bed for the rest of her life.
It was alleged that the hospital the claimant was admitted to for treatment of her unrelated condition were negligent insofar as they allowed the pressure sores to develop.
The hospital staff should have moved her frequently, checking for early signs of pressure sores. When these appeared action should have been taken to prevent them becoming serious.
The pressure sores increased the disability of the lady. She would now need care from two professional live-in carers 24 hours a day.
Her house was inadequate for her needs. She would need an extension or to move to a larger property to accommodate the live in carers.
The defendant's solicitors maintained that compensation should be limited. The allegation was that as the claimant was already partially disabled the amount should be reduced.
Solicitors for the claimant maintained that the compensation should not be reduced. The defendant should pay compensation for the problems caused irrespective of the minor disabilities suffered previously.
Conclusion and settlement
Liability was admitted but compensation could not be agreed out of Court.
Compensation of £2,894,814 was awarded.
The Court did not agree that the damages should be reduced. Compensation was awarded in full.
£115,000 of the damages was attributed to "pain, suffering and loss of amenity."
Future care was awarded at £2,194,883.
£256,439 was awarded for extending or moving home.
Damages of £584,931 were awarded for future costs of transport, medical and household equipment, physiotherapy, counselling and other associated expenses that would arise during her lifetime.
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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher
About the author
Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.