14 November 2023

Man who suffered debilitating fall in NHS care receives £75,000 settlement

Man using crutch shakes hand with doctor while man with folder stands by his side.

A Nottinghamshire man who suffered from a fall while in hospital has received a £75,000 settlement after failures by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

The 79-year-old man had initially undergone a routine medical procedure (sphincterotomy to treat gallstones) in 2020, but suffered from problems after the operation, such as dizziness and black stools. After being readmitted to Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, he was taken to toilet facilities and left there, where he then suffered from a fall while in NHS care - leaving him with a fractured hip.

As this severely limited the man’s mobility, he was unable to continue being the primary caregiver for his wife, who at the time was also 79 years old and with dementia. This resulted in her being prematurely admitted to an assistant care facility.

Despite the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust suggesting that the man was responsible for his own injuries and that he actively ignored medical advice, evidence uncovered by Wilkin Chapman solicitors revealed that the treatment he had received upon being readmitted failed to meet the required standards.

His risk assessment should have drawn attention to the likelihood that he was suffering from postural hypotension which, had this been highlighted, would have ensured the man was not permitted to stand up unaided. This is a critical distinction as the medical complication (which causes sufferers to become dizzy and disorientated when standing due to a drop in blood pressure) is a known side-effect of his earlier surgery.

The failure to identify this development and put in place preventative safeguards resulted in the man suffering from long-term effects and he has sadly never been able to regain his pre-fall mobility, despite having two hip operations to correct problems.

Partner, Jonathan Baker, said that the settlement will go some way towards aiding the man’s long-term recovery process as well as covering the cost of essential care for his wife.

Jonathan said:

“Medical negligence is always especially unfortunate because a single oversight can have permanent repercussions. This is an incredibly difficult situation that has altered two people’s lives forever, so we’re pleased that we have been able to assist them.

“Despite it being disputed throughout, we demonstrated that his fall could have been entirely avoided if he had been given the correct clinical diagnosis and care. This would have afforded him more time by his wife’s side instead of separating them prematurely.”

Jonathan Baker, Wilkin Chapman LLP
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