A father of three from Lancashire ended up splitting his head open after staff on a hospital ward failed to keep him under constant observation and left him unsupervised, despite a previous fall out of his hospital bed just a few days earlier.
In early October 2015, Michael was experiencing from some swelling in his legs and stomach, so he visited the Royal Blackburn Hospital, where they advised it was caused by water retention due to liver disease.
Michael was admitted to hospital in order to treat his swelling, however whilst on the ward he fell out of his hospital bed and hit his back on an object at the side of the bed. As a result of the fall, Michael was placed on 24-hour bed watch and under constant observation.
Unfortunately, a couple of days later, Michael fell out of the hospital bed again, but this time hit his head causing it to split open. Michael remembers nurses rushing to his aid and calling for a doctor before he passed out.
When he later regained consciousness, his partner was at his bedside and explained to him what had happened, with his head having been split open and medically glued back together. It was also explained that the person who was supposed to be observing Michael, ensuring he didn’t have another fall, had stepped away to do something else, leaving him alone.
Following the fall, Michael underwent a head scan, but no further action was taken and he returned to being monitored at all times to ensure he was safely in bed. At the end of October, Michael was discharged from hospital and able to return home, despite his back being bruised from the fall and an indentation in his head.
The dent in Michael’s head has still not gone away and he has been left with a permanent mark. Michael should have never fallen out of the bed on the second occasion and should have been monitored at all times.
Michael got in touch with Fletchers in early 2017 to make a claim for medical negligence against the hospital trust. We investigated his claim and, in August 2017, the trust admitted a breach of duty that he ‘was not supervised by a staff member when the fall occurred’. We settled Michael’s case for £2500 and hope his case demonstrates the importance of maintaining patient safety at all times.
Hannah Ashcroft, a solicitor within our medical negligence department, said, “We achieved a fast and fair settlement on Michael’s case. The Trust admitted that Michael should have been monitored when his fall occurred; Michael is lucky he didn’t have more severe damage after hitting his head and hopefully now he is able to put the incident behind him. We wish him all the best in the future.”