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Blog: Catastrophic pressure sore injuries cost NHS almost £3 million

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Catastrophic pressure sore injuries cost NHS almost £3 million
Jonathan Wheeler | 06 Feb 2015

Since posting my blog about APIL’s pressure ulcer campaign last week, I have seen the shocking results of a case which illustrates exactly why our campaign to prevent these needless injuries is so important.

In 2008 a 61-year-old woman was admitted to hospital with a rare inflammatory condition which caused damage to her spinal cord. While she was in hospital, she developed pressure ulcers which were so serious they caused infection of the bone marrow, shortening of the muscle tissue in her legs, and a dislocated hip. She was unable to sit upright and had to spend most of her time in bed.

While it’s certainly the case that the damage to her spinal cord meant she would have been confined to a wheelchair after leaving hospital, the needless additional damage caused by the pressure ulcers have had an even more profound impact. If this appalling negligence had not occurred, the patient would have been able to spend her waking hours out of bed in a standard wheelchair which she could have propelled herself; she would have been able to undertake some basic household tasks and would have been able to get out and about much more than in her present condition. She would also have needed no more than around seven hours of professional care a week.

Now, this poor woman needs two full-time carers on a 24-hour basis, and will need to move house to a larger property to accommodate them. The court has awarded her damages of almost £3 million to pay for her future care and needs, and for her pain and suffering. 

Here at APIL we often say that the best way for the cash-strapped NHS to avoid having to pay compensation is to avoid the negligence which leads to needless injuries in the first place. If ever there was a case which proves that point, this is surely it.  

Past blog entries

Accident and negligence: what’s the difference and why does it matter? , 02 Aug 2021
Patient safety problems risk waning public confidence in the NHS , 20 May 2021
Consumers will not benefit from Do-it-Yourself whiplash reforms, 28 Jan 2021
Effects of a change in the discount rate: what happens when a review is expected? , 16 Dec 2020
Three per cent drop in premiums does not reflect massive insurer savings, 09 Nov 2020
What help is out there for families when someone is injured?, 02 Nov 2020
Blindly heading into the unknown for injured people?, 09 Dec 2019
Lessons in looking after one another , 18 Nov 2019

About this blog

Jonathan Wheeler

Jonathan has recently stepped into the role of APIL president for 2015-16.
He specialises in child abuse cases and leads the team at Bolt Burdon Kemp in Islington.