Is it possible to make a compensation claim for a hospital patient with pressure ulcers? I checked the Book of Quantum and bed sores are not listed.
A compensation claim for a hospital patient with pressure ulcers can usually be made when a patient has failed to receive a reasonable level of nursing care which resulted in the formation of bed sores. In order for the sores to develop to the point where ulcers have formed there must have been serious neglect of a patient, and claims for compensation for pressure ulcers should stand a high probability of being successful.
Although the Book of Quantum is a very useful reference, its main purpose is to help Injuries Board claims assessors assign compensation amounts to personal injury* claims. The Book of Quantum details the typical range of compensation amounts applicable for a particular injury and, while it is reasonably comprehensive, it only covers the injuries which its claims assessors are required to evaluate on a day to day basis. Since hospital pressure ulcer compensation claims involve medical negligence* – and medical negligence* claims are beyond the remit of the Injuries Board – this type of injury is not covered in the Book of Quantum.
It is probable that you will be entitled to make a claim for pressure ulcers as hospital nurses should be aware of the risk of this type of injury and of the simple steps that must be taken to prevent pressure ulcer formation. Pressure ulcers develop when a patient remains immobile in bed for a prolonged period. If a patient is repositioned from time to time, the risk of pressure ulcers developing will be significantly reduced. Nurses should also regularly check patients for the first symptoms of ulcer formation.
As the sores start to develop – referred to medically as stage 1 pressure ulcers – the skin becomes inflamed and a patient usually feels pain or discomfort. As the condition develops into stage 2, the skin breaks and ulceration occurs. The latter stages of 3 and 4 involve local tissue death and the ulcers extending into the soft tissues causing highly serious deep tissue injuries.
Although it is the responsibility of the hospital to make nurses available to reposition you to reduce the risk of bed sores developing, you have a responsibility to speak to the nurses and doctors if you are in any discomfort. If your bed sores had deteriorated to stage three or four, it is highly probable that they would have caused you pain or considerable discomfort. If you failed to complain about this at the time, it could be argued that you were partly responsible for the severity of your condition. This would be classed as contributory negligence, which has potential to reduce the amount of compensation for pressure ulcers you would be entitled to receive.
In order to have your right to claim for a hospital patient with pressure ulcers confirmed, you should speak with a personal injury* solicitor. After you have explained the circumstances due to which the ulcers developed, their severity, number and location, you should be able to find out if you will be entitled to make a claim for pressure ulcers in addition to the approximate amount of hospital pressure ulcer compensation that can be recovered. You can then decide whether you wish to proceed with legal action against the hospital.