We agreed settlement of a claim against Frimley Park Hospital for negligent care that led our client to develop numerous pressure sores during a series of admissions over several years.
Our client had diabetes and an associated history of vascular disease that was known to the hospital. It should have recognised that this history placed our client at high risk of developing pressure sores. There are protocols in place for all patients to be assessed when they are admitted to hospital to identify those at particular risk of pressure sores and the steps that need to be taken to mitigate the risk of sores developing. These steps include, for example, providing specialist mattresses and other aids that reduce exposure to pressure. Patients also need careful skin monitoring.
On repeated occasions, those protocols were not followed correctly in our client's case. As a result, his risk profile was not considered or was wrongly completed and specialist equipment was not provided nor careful monitoring undertaken until after his sores had already developed. Our client suffered a series of sores following his initial admission which quickly became serious and took between 9 and 18 months to heal. He was later admitted following a fall in which he fractured his hip. He subsequently developed a further pressure sore that lasted for a number of months.
We obtained expert evidence that the basic standards of nursing care in relation to pressure sore risk assessment and management had not been followed and these failures led to the development of our client's pressure sores. Had our client been treated properly then it is likely that all the sores he suffered would have been avoided and certainly would have been identified and managed as soon as they had started to develop – rather than only being identified once they were already quite significant.
We wrote to the hospital to set out the allegations of negligence in our client's nursing care. Following investigations by the NHS Litigation Authority, it was admitted that the hospital had failed to meet the minimum level of acceptable care in our client's case and that the pressure sores should have been avoided.
We offered to settle our client's claim for £17,500 plus his reasonable legal costs. That offer was accepted after a short period of negotiation.