Case studies

Brain injury caused by ambulance crew

We were approached by the family of Mr Thomas who died aged 81 in July 2009. He was attended at home in Esher, Surrey, by an ambulance crew to take him to hospital. Whilst being transferred to the ambulance, Mr Thomas was physically dropped and struck his head on a step.

The ambulance crew failed both to record this and to tell the staff at the hospital to which he was taken. As a result, the hospital did not suspect or investigate any head injury and there was a delay of one week before it was realised that he had sustained an acute subdural haemorrhage. By then, Mr Thomas was too weak to undergo surgery and tragically died a few days later.

An inquest was held at which the coroner was highly critical of the failings of the ambulance service. Following the inquest, we pursued a claim against it which was settled without the need to issue court proceedings.

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