£6,000 compensation awarded to a 32-year-old woman
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A 32-year-old woman was awarded compensation of £6,000.00 for having suffered a post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from a needlestick injury.
The claimant was employed as an ambulance technician. During the course of her employment, she was called to assist a patient who had collapsed at home. When she got to the home she discovered that a blood sample was required and she, therefore, used a click pen device which was issued to her to take the blood sample.
Unfortunately, the device was defective and as she took the blood sample her left index finger was cut.
As soon as this event occurred her colleague who was with her at the time informed her that the patient was HIV positive.
She was subsequently taken back to the hospital and after being examined by one of the consultants was informed that she had a 1 in 300 chance of developing Aids as a result of the needlestick injury.
The doctor prescribed a course of treatment which involved taking 18 tablets per day for a one month period.
The medication had a catastrophic effect on her. She suffered significant side effects, one of which caused her to be admitted to the hospital and was unable to work for 3 weeks.
Her home life was seriously affected and she was not even able to kiss her partner or 2 small children.
These side effects lasted for 6 months during which time she suffered a lack of sleep from the stress and she also became depressed and had to be prescribed anti-depressants.
Fortunately, after the 6 month period, a blood test revealed that she was clear of HIV/Aids.
The medical expert who examined her for the Court proceedings concluded that the psychological problems should resolve within 15 months although she would remain vulnerable to stress for up to 5 years.
The Ambulance Service was held to have caused the psychological injury by reason of providing her with defective medical equipment.
Conclusion and settlement
The Ambulance Service on receipt of the summons denied liability and accordingly the case went to Court but the Judge found in her favour and awarded her £6,000.00 for pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
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Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor
About the author
Howard qualified as a solicitor in 1984 and has specialised in personal injury for over 25 years. He is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) and is a recognised Law Society Personal Injury Panel expert.