May 3, 2012

Family of woman who died due to negligence receives a payout

K was admitted to hospital with pneumonia and her records stated that she needed to be on oxygen therapy at all times. The fatal accident occurred when, despite the treatment plan, she was allowed to go to the toilet by herself and without her oxygen. K suffered a cardiac arrest, and with no one by her side to help she ended up with catastrophic and irreversible brain damage.

K’s family, her husband and two children, went through a very difficult time when K was kept alive with the help of machines. The family felt that it would have been K’s wish to be allowed to die, and instructed Paul Rumley, partner in our Clinical Negligence team, to argue the case. After 22 months of artificial ‘life’ a court order was obtained allowing K to die.

When in came to compensation for they hospital’s negligence, NHSLA denied liability, and it was only through a very carefully handled mediation process that Paul eventually secured £163,500 in damages for K’s family.

P, K’s widower, said: “Paul was extremely thorough. He was always on top of the facts and I was very impressed with his confidence, particularly during stressful situations like meetings with experts. I was very grateful a mediated settlement was achieved before a formal court hearing. The final result exceeded my expectations and has made a real difference to us.”

Paul Rumley comments: “This was an extremely challenging case to deal with, not least because K was alive when the case started and we needed to deal with the family’s and (as we successfully argued) K’s wish to be allowed to die. The case was won on the basis of one word – ‘not’ – underlined twice in the nursing record. As always, attention to detail is a must with these cases.”

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