Emma Beeson of Penningtons Manches LLP’s clinical negligence team has settled a claim against King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (previously South London Healthcare NHS Trust) for a client whose wife died following a fall in hospital.
His wife suffered from dementia and sustained an acute subdural haematoma and head injury after the fall. The defendant trust failed to adequately carry out a falls risk assessment – had they done so then the high risk of the patient falling would have been identified and steps could have been taken to manage that risk. The situation was compounded by the fact that a reasonable standard of care was not provided following the head injury in terms of assessment and management of the injury. Settlement was reached after the defendant admitted liability and expert evidence regarding Penningtons Manches’ client’s psychological injury, sustained as a result of his wife’s death, was disclosed.
Lucie Prothero, who specialises in hospital falls cases within the clinical negligence team at Penningtons Manches, comments: “We have a worrying number of cases at the moment involving the elderly and hospital falls – many resulting in an untimely death. The same themes of a failure to carry out a falls risk assessment and failure to appreciate the nature of injuries sustained seem to crop up again and again – and are a real worry. Whilst we are pleased with the settlement of this case for Emma’s client, we would like to see steps being taken to reduce the number of these incidents – particularly as the measures needed are not complicated but can make such a difference.”