Case Studies

Settlement for elderly client who suffered a fall in hospital due to supervision failure

We recently obtained a settlement for a 90 year old client who sustained a fall at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, fracturing her right hip and requiring a hemi-arthroplasty.

Our client was admitted to hospital by ambulance having experienced an episode of confusion at her sheltered accommodation. A range of tests was carried out, including a CT head scan. It was thought that our client may be suffering from vascular dementia or an intracranial bleed. On arrival, a moving and handling risk assessment was completed. It was noted that our client’s risk of falls was high, she was hard of hearing, and she required the supervision of one member of staff to mobilise. The form also highlighted that she was ‘unsafe to walk alone/unsteady’. Following admission, she remained on constant one-to-one supervision.

In the early hours of the morning four days after her admission, our client suffered a fall when she got out of bed whilst unsupervised. A fracture to the right neck of her femur was identified on an X-ray, and she underwent an internal fixation of her right hip. She remained in hospital while she recovered for a further four weeks, during which time she became increasingly anxious and confused.

Prior to her fall, our client was physically fit and active and was living independently. She was extremely mobile and did not use any walking aids. In addition to walking, she also enjoyed dancing. When she was discharged from hospital, she was mobilising with a walking frame. She was no longer able to walk the distances she had walked previously. Our client suffered a further fall three months after she was discharged, and fractured her left hip. Her mobility deteriorated further, as did her cognitive function as a result of her dementia.

We investigated our client’s claim, obtaining medical evidence. Our experts confirmed that the lack of one-to-one supervision at the time of our client’s fall was a breach of duty. It was also confirmed that the fracture to her right hip caused a deterioration in her mobility which failed to improve.

The defendant trust made an offer to settle the claim and, after negotiations, a further offer from the defendant was accepted. As our client lacked capacity to conduct legal proceedings, we represented her at an approval hearing which her son attended as her litigation friend. The settlement was approved by the judge.

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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