Medical Negligence News

Judge Awards Compensation for PTSD against the NHS

Posted on: February 27th, 2014 by Medical Negligence

A High Court judge has awarded a woman – who waited in agony for 50 minutes for an ambulance to arrive after dislocating her knee – £522,379 in compensation for PTSD against the NHS.

In November 2008, fifty-year-old Ceri Leigh started to rise from her seat on a bus in Wimbledon, Surrey, when she dislocated her kneecap. Unable to sit, stand or move out from between the seats, Ceri waited for paramedics to arrive for 50 minutes, after which time she was taken to hospital.

Following her discharge, Ceri was medically retired from her job as an Exhibitions Manager at the Natural History Museum and returned to live in South Wales due to economic pressures. Her injured knee did not fully recover for eighteen months – during which time she suffered nightmares and flashbacks to the time she was trapped on the bus.

Ceri also started to suffer from dissociative seizures, and was diagnosed by a psychiatrist as suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of her physical and psychological trauma while waiting for paramedics to arrive. After seeking legal advice, Ceri claimed compensation for PTSD against the NHS.

Although acknowledging that there had been an avoidable seventeen minute delay in attending Ceri due to negligence, the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust disputed the link to her psychiatric injury and argued that Ceri had been suffering family and financial problems before her accident which could have triggered her PTSD condition.

The NHS Trust also contested the amount of damages being claimed in her action, but at the High Court in London, Mr Justice Globe said that every additional minute paramedics were delayed had added to Ceri´s trauma until she was left in “utter despair”.

The judge found in Ceri´s favour, awarding her £522,379 compensation for PTSD against the NHS, and commenting he was satisfied that the PTSD Ceri had been diagnosed with was attributable to the trauma she experienced while waiting injured on the bus.