Damages were obtained by a Client acting on behalf of the estate of her deceased mother, whose quality of life had been marred in her last months, as a result of substandard care provided by East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust.
William Harvey Hospital
Our Client’s mother was admitted to William Harvey Hospital on 2nd April 2010.
On admission t had bleeding from her stoma and rectum; was suffering from abdominal pain, vomiting nausea, persistent diarrhoea and a small hernia.
She was admitted under the care of the general surgical team and underwent tests.
Unfortunately, he condition deteriorated whilst she was in hospital. She contracted MRSA, the discharge from her stoma go worse, and she developed pressure ulcers. She suffered considerable pain
Our Client had complained about the care her mother was getting. She complained further when her mother was told, on several occasions, that she was to be discharged.
Unfortunately, against our Client’s wishes her mother was discharged on 21st May 2010, despite her having developed sacral sores, mouth soreness and the stoma nurse had identified granulation around the edges of the stoma site. There was also ongoing faecal contamination from the stoma requiring changing of the appliance, which the Client’s mother could not do herself.
On the first night following discharge, our Client’s mother’s stoma bag burst. An Out of Hours GP attended who noted that she had been found lying in faeces, had ulcerated legs, bleeding ulcers and was in pain.
On the District Nurse’s recommendation our Client’s mother was taken for care at a Care Home but was there for less than a week before she was taken by ambulance to A&E and readmitted to William Harvey Hospital.
During her second admission her treatment was discontinued and on 18th June 2010, she passed away.
Claim for Damages
The Client instructed us to investigate the standard of care provided, on the basis that there would be no allegation that the Trust had caused her mother’s death.
Medical records and a witness statement were obtained. Expert evidence was then obtained from a nurse, who was supportive of a Claim - making numerous criticisms of the care provided.
The expert nurse stated that the nursing staff should have undertaken appropriate steps to avoid the development of pressure sores, and should have been much more vigilant in monitoring nutrition and water intake.
A formal Letter of Claim was submitted to the Trust detailing our Client’s criticism of the standard of care provided. The allegations were denied and the Trust invited the Client to discontinue her Claim.
Though attempts were made to negotiate settlement, the Defendant remained adamant that it would not offer settlement on terms where our Client would receive damages.
Our Client provided the Defendant with a copy of the expert nursing evidence that she had obtained. The Defendant indicated that it too would share its expert evidence but, subsequently, did not do so.
Steps were taken to ready the case for Court. An expert report was obtained from a colorectal surgeon, who was also supportive of the Claim.
His evidence was that the treatment following the admission on 2nd April 2010 had marred the quality of our Client’s mother’s life in the months prior to her death. He stated that, if treatment had commenced sooner, the problems with our Client’s mother’s nutrition, her legs and the development of pressure sores either would have been reduced or avoided.
The additional expert report was provided to the Defendant. Settlement negations were recommenced. The Defendant proposed settlement on the basis that our Client receive £9,500 damages and have payment of her reasonable legal fees and expenses. On consideration, our Client accepted the offer.
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