An 80 year old man was admitted to hospital for intensive treatment in relation to depression. His condition began to improve and his family hoped that he would be discharged in early July 2008.
Unfortunately, patients who suffered from both depressive illness and illnesses such as dementia were treated together. One evening, the gentleman was assaulted by another patient on the ward who was known to have a violent and aggressive history due to an ongoing mental illness. The elderly man sustained severe blunt head injuries and sadly, his condition deteriorated and he died three days later.
The assailant was kept on a ward where he had free access to other patients and their rooms and was not escorted back to his bed as he should have been.
The Defendant Trust failed to assess the level of risk that the assailant posed to other patients, despite his history of aggression and violence. The assailant was also not properly supervised. The Trust failed to provide a repeat risk assessment of the assailant following a previous assault, leading to a further assault in this case.
Action was brought by the family of the deceased and the case settled after negotiation for a sum of £20,000.