£475,000 settlement for 70 year old who developed horrendous pressure ulcers
Bolt Burdon Kemp’s spinal injury team secured £475,000 or a 70 year old client who sustained over ten extensive and intractable pressure sores whilst in two hospitals. As a result of his horrendous pressure sores, our client remained in hospital for seven years.
People with spinal cord injuries are at high risk of developing pressure ulcers, which are often known as ‘pressure sores’ or ‘bed sores’. This is because when you become paralysed you can lose your ability to feel and to know when to move your body to avoid pressure building on your skin. Able bodied people adjust their pressure automatically but those with a spinal cord injury can’t feel, so do not know to move, and in addition, may also have difficulties repositioning themselves depending on their level of paralysis. It is therefore vital that medics undertake preventative measures to ensure pressure sores do not occur in accordance with NICE guidance.
Our client fell down a flight of stairs at home and sustained a spinal cord injury rendering him paralysed. He was taken to his nearest trauma centre where medics proceeded to stabilise his spinal cord injury.
Our client sustained three to four pressure ulcers within ten days of his admission to hospital following his fall. The defendant admitted that these sores could and should have been avoided with proper care and management.
Our client was then moved to a specialist spinal injury unit to commence his rehabilitation for his spinal cord injury. At the point of transfer our client’s pressure ulcers were not fully healed. The second hospital failed to provide our client with proper care for his existing ulcers causing them to worsen. To make matters worse, further ulcers developed, which the second hospital admitted was negligent.
Consequently our client sustained in excess of ten pressure sores to his body whilst under the care of the first and second hospitals, several of which were grade 4 in nature, the most severe type of sore that can occur. Our client developed complications from the pressure sores which required various surgeries to try and manage the complications, resulting in him requiring a permanent tracheotomy.
This meant that our client was unable to fully commence his spinal rehabilitation, was extremely ill over a period of seven years due to the severe complications and has never been able to leave hospital.
We successfully argued that but for the negligence of the two hospitals, our client would have been able to return to his home and adapt to his spinal cord injury with minimal assistance without any permanent equipment to help him breathe. Due to the negligent treatment and care received by our client, he now requires a permanent tracheotomy, very high levels of care and high-tech equipment which would have otherwise been avoided, to help prevent further skin breakdowns from occurring.
This is one of the most shocking cases we have seen in relation to pressure sores. Our client had horrendous grade 4 sores and worse, has never been able to leave hospital which has impacted substantially on his quality of life. It serves as a reminder to all who care for those at risk of developing pressure sores, how quickly one can escalate and the vital importance of prevention and close vigilance to ensure such devastating injuries are avoided.
Our specialist spinal injury team were able to secure one of the highest amounts of compensation for a case relating to pressure sores because they understand the complexities of having a spinal cord injury and the vulnerabilities our client faced as a result of the pressure sores.