She was in hospital for a total of 11 days. Whilst she was recuperating she could not mobilise. Mrs Makin developed discomfort and pain in her heels. She asked staff on duty to look at her heels but the answer each time was, “I will be back in a minute.” No proper action was taken.
Blisters were eventually noticed on Mrs Makin’s heels seven days after the surgery but there was no adequate intervention to prevent pressure sores from getting worse.
We obtained expert evidence from a Tissue Viability Nurse. There was no proper use of the routinely used Waterlow Risk Assessment, by hospital staff, in Mrs Makin’s case.
The guidelines laid down by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence in relation to the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers were not followed.
The 2009 government document, “The NHS: 2010 – 2015: From Good to Great” has intimated that pressure ulcers should become a never event, i.e. no patient should be allowed to go on to develop a pressure injury whilst being cared for by health providers.
Sadly, Mrs Makin developed serious pressure sores which would not have developed had she received adequate care.
Mrs Makin was attended to by district nurses at home following her discharge from hospital. She had to reside at her son’s house for many months as she could not mobilise properly. With the loving care of her family, she made a slow recovery. Two years on from the development of the pressure sores, the pressure sore on Mrs Makin’s right heel had still not properly healed.
Mrs Makin experienced a very long period of pain and suffering. She also required a considerable amount of care from her family. We obtained an expert Nursing Care report which set out the total past worth of care received by Mrs Makin, and this care was shown to be made necessary by the negligence.
When we wrote a Letter of Claim on behalf of Mrs Makin, the Hospital Trust’s representatives, the NHS Litigation Authority, denied the failings we had alleged. However, on further pressing and after answering various queries, an admission of liability was made by the Hospital Trust. Certain elements of causation were not admitted and overall damages were challenged.
After a period of negotiation, a excellent settlement in the sum of £35,000 was agreed on.
We hope that Mrs Makin will now celebrate her 90th birthday in the knowledge that her case has been settled satisfactorily. The funds she has received will allow her to purchase items such as a stair lift which will make life more comfortable.