We were initially instructed by the family of an elderly client who sadly died during the course of the case.

Briefly, at the material time, the deceased was aged 88. He had multiple co-morbidities and his mental test scores were low, probably because of previous cerebral vascular accidents or strokes.

During June 2016, he fell over in his bedroom and hit his back against a chair. The following day, a visiting GP attributed his deteriorating symptoms to a chest infection but noted he had bruising on his back.

The deceased was admitted to hospital for just over 10 days. Bruising on his back was confirmed by the ambulance notes. There is no record during his entire inpatient stay that his back was examined and the presence or absence of the bruising established.

The deceased was then discharged by the hospital as medically fit into the care of a nursing home for rehabilitation and respite for his widow.

Two weeks later, he was unable to get out of bed and/or walk. He was readmitted to hospital and an x-ray and MRI scan were undertaken. The MRI scan showed an unstable spiral fracture through the eighth thoracic vertebrae. He had to undergo emergency surgery, namely spinal stabilisation.

Criticisms of the medical care

The family of the deceased were critical of the care which he received at the hospital whilst an inpatient during June 2016, in that the staff:-

  1. Failed sufficiently, adequately or at all to examine his spine, detect and diagnose his spinal fracture.
  2. Failed to treat his spinal fracture whilst he was in an inpatient.

It was our case, on the balance of probabilities, that the hospital’s failure to diagnose and immediately treat the fracture, fell below the standard of care he was entitled to expect and as such, worsened the outcome for him, in particular, his mobility was significantly impaired

Sadly, the deceased passed away 2 years post surgery. As a consequence of the alleged negligence, he suffered more pain and suffering and relied more on his family for care and assistance.

A letter of claim was sent to the hospital and they acknowledged that there had been a failures in his care but they disputed causation ie. they maintained that this delay in diagnosis and treatment made no material difference to the outcome. Notwithstanding their position, they made an early offer of £5,000 which was rejected. Further offers of £10,000 and £15,000 were also made.

The parties continued their negotiations and were eventually able to settle this claim without the need for Court proceedings.

S J Edney solicitors obtained compensation of £17,500 for this client in 2019