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Nursing Errors

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

  • Direct access to your legal team
  • Law Society and AVMA Panel approved
  • No Win No Fee available
  • Legal Aid funding in certain cases

Many elderly or vulnerable people will be looked after in a nursing or care home and it’s important that they are looked after appropriately to ensure their health and welfare.

Sadly sometimes this falls short and we have experience in assisting in the following circumstances:

Nursing Care Home Neglect

Many elderly or vulnerable people will be looked after in a nursing or care home.   It is important that they are looked after appropriately to ensure their health and welfare.   Sadly sometimes this falls short and we have experience in assisting in the following circumstances:-

  • Nutrition

Where a resident has not been given proper nutrition which results in a decline in their health and sometimes even lead to tier untimely death.

  • Medication

Where there has been a failure by the Home to administer the correct medication at the right dose.    In some instances it has not been given at all or the wrong medication has  been given.   This can cause a decline in the person’s health and sometimes lead to their untimely death.

  • Failure to diagnose fractures

Elderly people are more prone to falling and those falls should be reported to a medical practitioner and they should be examined to ensure that they have not suffered any broken bones.  Sadly on occasions such examination does not take place until some time later by which time their health has deteriorated and a fracture has been missed.

  • Falls

Care Homes should have a falls policy and each resident should be risk assessed in terms of how likely they are to fall and what assistance they require in order to mobilise.  If the home fail to ensure  that adequate help is in place to assist then this can lead to the person having a fall and injuring themselves.

Pressure Sores

They often take a very long time to heal and if not treated appropriately, could prove fatal. Statistics have shown that around 95% of pressure sores cases could have been avoided through appropriate levels of medical care.

Pressure sores are caused by unrelieved pressure that disrupts the blood circulation and starves the skin of oxygen and nutrients. When this happens the skin will break down and ulcers can form. Patients whose illness reduces their mobility are most at risk of developing sores, meaning that pressure sores can happen in hospitals, in care homes and also when receiving care in the community from District Nurses.

Where a patient is assessed as being at high risk of developing a pressure sore, preventative measurements should be put in place by the nursing staff so as to reduce the risk of a pressure sore developing ie, the use of pressure relieving mattresses, cushions and heel protectors. In addition, frequent re-positioning of the patient will reduce the risk of the skin breaking down due to prolonged pressure, together with ensuring any areas susceptible to pressure damage ie, the sacrum (bottom of spine) and heels are kept clean and dry.

Pressure sore claims can arise from the following failings in nursing care:-

• Failure to appropriately assess the patient’s risk of developing a pressure sore;
• Failure to implement pressure reducing/relieving surfaces to aid in the prevention of pressure sores;
• Failure to implement and record repositioning regimes;
• Failure to prepare and follow robust Care Plans;
• Failure to refer patient for specialist advice from a Tissue Viability Nurse once pressure damage has occurred;

Failing to Adequately Supervise – Leading to Patient Falls

All patients when in hospital should be assessed for their risk of falling and adequate steps put in place to reduce this risk.    This particularly can affect the elderly and often a risk assessment will state that they should be mobilised with one or two members of staff.   If this is not properly followed and the patient falls and injuries them self then we may be able to assist in pursuing a claim against the Hospital Trust.

Sadly when elderly people have falls they can suffer injuries very easily.  They should be examined by a doctor and sometimes this examination does not take place for some time and we have dealt with cases where fractures have not been diagnosed for several days or weeks.  The result is by the time it is diagnosed it is too late to do anything.

Failure to Diagnose Infection

You may have suffered a delay in diagnosis of an infection or had inadequate treatment for an infection which has led to serious life threatening injury.   Some infections are hospital acquired and need to be treated promptly with antibiotics and the correct antibiotics.  Some hospital acquired infections are MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

Another type of infection that can be acquired is Clostridium Difficile.  (It is commonly referred to as C. diff or C. difficile).  This is a bacterial infection that affects the digestive system.

These hospital acquired infections can be avoided by good hygiene standards in order to avoid the chance of patients catching an infection in the first place and it spreading.

Sepsis

Sepsis is perhaps better known as blood poisoning or septicaemia which can develop  when the body reacts to the threat of an infection.  The immune system will try and fight off the infection.  However the body overreacts and produces too many antibodies and they can start to damage healthy tissue and organs.  Early detection is vital in order to enable it to be successfully treated.  Sadly sometimes the diagnosis is missed until it is too late by which time the patient has suffered injury such as loss of limbs and in some cases loss of life.

Medication Errors

Mistakes can be made when issuing prescriptions and administering medication and the types of situations when things can go wrong are as follows:-

  • Wrong dose prescribed
  • Wrong drugs prescribed
  • Wrong patient
  • Drug administered in the wrong way e.g. intravenously instead of intramuscularly (sometimes called an extravasation injury)
  • Being prescribed a drug you are known to be allergic to e.g. penicillin

If any of the above mentioned errors occur and you suffer an injury as a result you may be able to pursue a claim for compensation.

Please contact our Specialist Team for a free initial consultation.