A pensioner has received a six-figure sum after hospital staff failed to provide any adequate transfer information to an Ambulance Service, who were transporting her to a rehabilitation centre. The Claimant later fell during a transfer from a wheelchair and fractured her left femur.

The Incident

After suffering a fall at home, the 88-year-old woman was taken to Basildon University Hospital, where she was assessed and diagnosed with a left hip fracture. On admission to hospital, it was noted that the woman was at a high risk for subsequent falls.

The patient underwent surgery to repair the fracture in November 2015. In December 2015, it was planned that she would be discharged to a rehabilitation centre and would be transported by ambulance. Having boarded the ambulance, an attempt was made to transfer the patient from her wheelchair to a chair. Unfortunately, the patient fell and on arrival to A&E, it was confirmed she had a fracture to her left femur, just above the knee.

The Case

The basis for the case was that Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, was negligent, in that they failed to provide any adequate transfer information to the Ambulance Service. Details of the Claimant’s limited mobility were not recorded and communicated; in particular the Claimant’s need for a frame and assistance from two people.

The Trust admitted a breach of duty, confirming that there was a failure to adequately clarify with the ambulance crew at handover, a full and complete handover of information. It was accepted that as a result, the Claimant suffered a fracture to her left femur.

The Claimant’s son in law contacted Patient Claim Line on her behalf, with Solicitor Niall Murtagh taking up the medical negligence case, assisted by Litigation Executive, Holly Shuttleworth.

The Aftermath

It was noted that the client would have recovered from her initial fall. However, following the second fall, our client has been left in constant pain, incontinent and is unable to walk. She is confined to downstairs living and is essentially bed bound for most of the day. She requires a hoist to transfer to a wheelchair, which is extremely painful. The Claimant also suffered a decline in her mental health due to her injuries.

The Outcome

The case was settled out of court, with our client receiving £320,000.

The Claimant’s son in law commented:

“Ours was a personal injury claim which other solicitors’ firms didn’t want to take on before we came across Patient Claim Line. It was a rather a complicated case but we were able to work very closely with Niall to provide all the evidence needed.

We managed to reach an out of court settlement which I believe could not have been bettered unless we decided to take it all the way to trial, which would have caused delay for a long time especially with COVID causing problems.”

Niall concluded:

“We were very pleased to bring this matter to a conclusion for the Claimant, who had persevered with the claim for some four years. We hope the compensation allows the Claimant to put satisfactory care measures in place and that she regains some independence.”

Niall Murtagh is a Solicitor within Patient Claim Line’s Medical Negligence department.

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