Hospital accepts liability over pressure sore damage

19th December 2018

A 74 year old man suffered heel ulcers which required surgery following a hospital stay.

In November 2015, the Claimant was admitted to New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, due to acute retention of urine and abdominal pain. He was catheterised and discharged with advice to seek medical help if he became unwell.

Just two days later he was readmitted to hospital due to swelling in his left hand, right leg and both feet, inability to walk and heaviness in his arms and legs. He was considered high risk.

He was provisionally diagnosed with gout arthropathy and septic arthritis with no evidence of sepsis.

By 28 November 2015, he had a suspected deep tissue injury to his sacrum and blisters present on both heels. He was not referred to Tissue Viability Nurses (TVN) for a further two days.

The Claimant was transferred to West Park Rehabilitation Hospital and he was seen by a TVN. This was 16 days after the pressure sore developed on his sacrum and 14 days after the sores on his heels developed. The TVN altered the dressings to his ulcers.

A report dated 30 December 2015 records that the bilateral heel pressure ulcers which he developed during his hospital stay were confirmed as ‘avoidable’.

The Claimant was referred for specialist advice in February 2016 but his first appointment was cancelled due to staff sickness. The first appointment with the community TVN was on 17 February 2016.

On 27 February 2016 the Claimant underwent surgical debridement at New Cross Hospital and the sores on his heels took more than six months to repair. He subsequently suffered infections in the heels. Due to his restricted mobility during this time, he consequently suffered from depression and required counselling.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust admitted liability and offered the Claimant accepted their settlement of £30,000.

Hannah Andersen, Litigation Executive in the Medical Negligence Department at Fletchers Solcitors, said: “This case highlights the importance of ensuring preventative measures are in place to avoid the development of pressures sores.

“Had such steps been taken by the Trust, then our client would not have suffered the physical pain attributable to the sores or the psychological condition that resulted from his restricted mobility. I am pleased that we were able to assist him in this matter and wish him the best of luck for the future.”

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