Medical negligence: sub standard treatment by a nursing home.

James Braund, specialist personal injury and clinical negligence senior associate solicitor at Trethowans LLP’s Poole Office, has recently concluded a medical negligence claim relating to alleged sub standard treatment by a nursing home.

Mr B was admitted to Hospital in September 2012 due to a cardiac arrest. Unfortunately, whilst in Hospital, in October 2012, Mr B suffered a stroke. As a result, he lost all left arm movement and had minimal movement at the left hip with severe restriction below the left knee. Due to his paralysis it was recognised that Mr B needed to be turned and repositioned regularly to prevent pressure sores and this took place throughout his stay in Hospital. In April 2013 Mr B was discharged to a nursing home. The care plan made it clear that he needed to be repositioned regularly to prevent pressure sores. Unfortunately Mr B’s time at the nursing home was problematic. His family considered that there were issues with necessary equipment (such as cradle’s and pressure relieving mattresses) not being available when he was transferred to the home and they felt that he was not repositioned sufficiently. In mid May 2013 Mr B started to develop pain in his left heel. This continued throughout June 2013, when a pressure sore was diagnosed on his heel. By July 2013 the pressure sore had become a grade 4 sore and he was admitted to Hospital for treatment. Mr B underwent several months of treatment in Hospital due to the pressure sore and there was concern that his leg could have to be amputated below the knee. Thankfully, debridement and VAC therapy proved to be some success, although Mr B continued to experience pain with his heel.

Mr B and his family instructed James Braund at Trethowans LLP regarding a potential claim relating to the pressure sores. James obtained the medical records, which appeared to suggest that an inadequate amount of repositioning had been offered by the nursing home, compared with the care plan which had been devised, and then put the claim to the nursing home in question. The nursing home strongly denied the claim and claimed that Mr B was uncooperative with repositioning. Expert medico-legal evidence was obtained which appeared to confirm, among other things, that the repositioning offered was substandard and the manner of repositioning was inadequate (in terms of a lack of encouragement or explanation as to the potential consequences of not repositioning). The nursing home and their insurers continued to deny liability and therefore proceedings were issued. Unfortunately, Mr B sadly passed away after proceedings had been issued but before they had been served. James arranged for the executors of Mr B’s estate to be substituted into proceedings to continue the claim. Shortly after this the nursing home instructed solicitors who promptly admitted liability and entered into settlement negotiations. Damages in the claim were settled for £30,000.00.

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