UK Nursing Negligence

BUPA Fined for Fatal Accident

Posted on: June 5th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

The nationwide healthcare company have been issued a six-figure fine for negligence that lead to the death of an elderly care home resident.

Josephine Millard, a ninety-one year-old resident if the Beacon Edge Care Home in Penrith, was found dead in her room on the morning of the 24th September 2013. Josephine’s tragic death was caused by a fall from bed, and after an investigation into the death conducted by the Health and Safety Executives, it transpired that – despite the company’s policy concerning bedrail safety – a pressure sensor that would have alerted staff to the fall from bed had been turned off.

However, this was not the only failing of the BUPA-run care home. The investigation also found that staff had not been adequately trained in bedrail use and safety, and that the required safety checks were not done regularly. It was also found that the facility had a general lack of appropriate “care and support for people with dementia type illnesses” .

BUPA Care Homes (CFC Homes) Ltd were prosecuted for their negligence under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 and Regulation 9 of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998. Earlier this year, at the the Carlisle Magistrates’ Court, the healthcare company admitted their guilt to all of the charges.

The case proceeded to the Carlisle Crown Court for sentencing. Last month, the judges ordered BUPA to pay a £400,000 fine for their negligence. The company were then ordered to pay £15,206 in prosecution costs.

HSE Inspector Carol Forster commented after the hearing that “The need for adequate risk assessment and management of third party bedrails has been recognised in the healthcare sector for a number of years. In this case there was a lack of appropriate assessment of the residents’ changing needs and review of the control measures in place to protect her. The measures that were in place were not used correctly in that the sensor pad which would have alerted staff to the resident’s being out of bed was not switched on”.

Claims for Compensation against Nurse Practitioners See Significant Increase

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

Claims for compensation against nurse practitioners have seen a significant increase over the past decade according to the Medical Defence Union.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is an organization that provides clinical indemnity and legal support for members of the medical profession. According to a recent report, just two claims for compensation against nurse practitioners were made against its members in 2005. Ten years later, and the MDU reports that number has risen to twenty-five.

The figures released by the MDU mirror those revealed by the Medical Protection Society in 2012. Both reports attribute the increase in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners to more emphasis being given to primary nursing care, the role of nurse practitioners being expanded and a greater awareness of patients´ rights.

An analysis of the figures released by the MDU and Medical Protection Society both show that the majority of claims for compensation against nurse practitioners are for missed diagnoses and the failure to properly manage chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

While acknowledging that nurse practitioners are seeing patients who would historically have been seen by a GP, both organisations identified three specific areas that had contributed significantly to the rise in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners:

  • A failure to adequately assess a patient´s condition
  • A failure or a delay to refer a patient to a specialist or GP
  • A failure to adequately monitor the progress of a disease or illness

Dr Beverley Ward – the medico-legal advisor at the MDU – expanded on the reasons for there being an increase in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners. Dr Ward said:

“Many practices have devolved more responsibility to nurse practitioners in their team to cope with the increasing demand. However, in taking on roles such as assessing and diagnosing patients, prescribing medicines, and running minor injury clinics, nurse practitioners are also at an increased risk of patients holding them individually accountable if something goes wrong.”

Family Compensated for Nursing Home Negligence

Posted on: July 27th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A compensation settlement has been paid to the daughter of a woman who died after suffering pressure sores to her leg after receiving a poor standard of care in her nursing home.

Ivy Jones, ninety-eight of Mitcham, Surrey, moved into the Carshalton Nursing Home during November 2012 after she fell several times in her home. Mrs Jones had previously suffered with dry skin on both her legs, but upon moving into the care facility, she developed pressure sores on her calves. These distressed her and caused her immense amounts of pain whilst carrying out acts such as changing the dressings on her legs.

Thos visiting Mrs Jones made complaints to staff at the facility regarding their relative’s poor condition, yet no action was taken and Mrs Jone’s continued to deteriorate. The family then made complaints to Mrs Jones’ social worker, who saw that she be moved to a different care facility in January 2013. Yet Mrs Jones died just a few weeks later.

An investigation was carried out by Sutton Council into the quality of care provided by Carshalton Nursing Home upon receiving complaints from members of Mrs Jones’ family. They found that “the quality of care fell below the acceptable standard”. An embargo was placed on the home until November 2014, after which a new manager was employed and improvements were made to the running of the facility.

The investigation concluded that the staff at the home should have done more to assist Mrs Jones and to prevent the advancement of her condition. Medical attention should have been sought to prevent the development of the pressure sores on Mrs Jones’ legs. Mrs Jones’ daughter, Shirley Dell, sought legal counsel and subsequently made a compensation claim against the home for the lack of care given to her mother. The owners of the home denied liability for the injuries, yet agreed to a settlement of £12,000 out-of-court without admitting liability.

Mrs Dell spoke after the announcement of the settlement; “I just wanted some form of justice for my mum. When they changed her dressings she used to scream in agony. It wasn’t right for her to suffer like she did.”

Nursing Home Settles Claim for an Unacceptable Standard of Care Out of Court

Posted on: July 23rd, 2015 by Medical Negligence

A claim for an unacceptable standard of care has been settled out of court for £12,000 by a nursing home considered responsible for a resident´s suffering.

In November 2012, Ivy Jones (98) from Mitcham in Surrey was moved into the Carshalton Nursing Home after falling several times in her home. At the time of her move, Ivy was suffering with dry skin on both legs; but within weeks pressure sores developed on both calves which caused Ivy to suffer intense pain when her dressings were changed.

Ivy´s family complained to the nursing home staff, who claimed to have escalated their concerns to visiting medical practitioners; but when Ivy´s condition deteriorated further, the family complained to a social worker, who had Ivy moved to alternative accommodation in January 2013. Unfortunately Ivy died the following month.

Ivy´s daughter – Shirley Dell – sought legal advice and made a claim for an unacceptable standard of care against the Carshalton Nursing Home. An investigation was also conducted by Sutton Council, who placed an embargo on the nursing home until November 2014 when a new manager was put in place and the necessary improvements made.

The report from the investigation stated that “the quality of care fell below the acceptable standard”, that more should have been done to prevent Ivy´s pressure sores from developing and to obtain professional medical attention for her. Nonetheless the owners of the facility denied their liability for Ivy´s injuries.

Under pressure from Shirley´s solicitor, the owners of the Carshalton Nursing Home agreed to an out of court £12,000 settlement of the claim for an unacceptable standard of care, but without an admission of liability. The solicitor was later reported as saying; “Mrs Jones was in a lot of discomfort and distress in the last few months of her life which could have been avoided.”

After details of the settlement of the claim for an unacceptable standard of care were reported, Shirley told her local press: “I just wanted some form of justice for my mum. When they changed her dressings she used to scream in agony. It wasn’t right for her to suffer like she did.”

Solicitors Help Family Claim Compensation for Jaundice Birth Injuries

Posted on: January 8th, 2015 by Medical Negligence

Solicitors from Devon are helping a family claim compensation for jaundice birth injuries after a four day old boy developed kernicterus.

Khan Gold was born on 15th April 2013 to Ed and Laura-Faye Gold at the Exeter Hospital in Devon and, apart from a little jaundice, was a perfectly healthy baby. Mother and son were allowed to go home the following day and, over the next few days, the family was regularly visited at their Honiton home by midwives checking on Khan´s progress.

On each occasion, Laura-Faye raised concerns about her son´s jaundice as it seemed to be getting worse, but on each occasion she was told it was nothing to worry about and advised to take Khan out into the sun. However, four days after he was born, Laura-Faye had problems feeding Khan and noticed that her son was arching his back as if in pain.

Laura-Faye called her local hospital, who advised her to bring her son in for an examination. The local hospital took a blood sample and advised Khan´s parents to take him back to Exeter Hospital to have the sample analysed. After several tests were conducted, Khan was diagnosed with kernicterus and transferred to intensive care.

Kernicterus is a condition in which an underdeveloped liver has failed to remove bilirubin from the bloodstream and – despite having a blood transfusion to replace half the blood in his body and spending a week under special lights that break down bilirubin – the pigment had got into Khan´s brain and he sustained brain damage.

Khan´s brain damage is likely to be permanent, and doctors are uncertain whether he will ever be able to walk. As he is going to need life-long care, his parents contacted medical negligence solicitors who helped them claim compensation for jaundice birth injuries against the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.

In their claim for compensation for jaundice birth injuries, Ed and Laura-Faye allege that midwives failed to follow NHS guidelines on the treatment of newborn jaundice. They also claim that the midwives who visited their home after Khan was born should have escalated Laura-Faye´s concerns in a timely manner to the family´s GP or Exeter Hospital´s paediatrician.

Solicitors representing the Gold family have also suggested that there were training issues at Exeter Hospital which need to be addressed, and have started negotiations with the NHS Foundation Trust to resolve the family´s claim for compensation for jaundice birth injuries. The final settlement is expected to be in seven figures.

The Chief Executive of the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust – Angela Pedder – has apologised to the family for the failures which led to Khan suffering jaundice birth injuries. Since the circumstances of Khan´s avoidable injury were investigated, key changes have been made at the hospital which include that all babies born with jaundice are now tested for kernicterus.