Case studies

Claim against South London Healthcare NHS Trust for death following a hospital fall


We recently settled a claim arising out of the death of an elderly lady as a result of a head injury sustained due to an avoidable hospital fall.

The claimant’s wife was admitted to hospital via the A&E Department. She suffered from dementia, a chest infection and was very unsteady on her feet and confused. Two days later when she was admitted from A&E to a ward she suffered a fall whilst the staff nurses were in handover.

When the claimant’s wife was found, she was unresponsive. The claimant arrived on the ward and noticed that his wife had a large cut over her right eye, a large lump on the right side of her forehead and bruising over her right eye, along with a black eye. She was attempting to spit out bits of bloody tooth that appeared to have been knocked out in her fall.

The claimant immediately noticed that his wife was becoming sleepy and more confused and requested that a doctor be called to review her. He approached a member of staff four or five times over around an hour. Two hours later the claimant’s wife had still not been reviewed. Eventually, a CT head scan was carried out and the results of this scan demonstrated an acute right subdural haematoma with an element of a chronic bleed.

Discussion took place about the possibility of transferring the claimant’s wife for surgery, however, it was felt that the chance of her surviving the surgery was slim and therefore it was recommended that she remain where she was and be made comfortable.

The claimant watched his wife’s condition deteriorate over the following week until she passed away.

Helen Hammond and Emma Beeson, clinical negligence law specialists, represented the claimant in the investigation of his potential claim on behalf of his wife’s estate and also for his own psychiatric injury as a result of her death.

The defendant trust admitted breach of duty for a failure to adequately and correctly risk assess the claimant’s wife’s risk of falling upon her admission to hospital or anytime thereafter. They admitted that they were negligent in the care and treatment provided to her following the fall and that as a result of the fall the claimant’s wife suffered from an acute subdural haematoma and a head injury which led to her death.


Return to case studies

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP