A family has resolved its compensation claim for a fatal injury during the hospital admission process at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
Thirty-three year old Ross Askew from Selly Oak in the West Midlands attended the Selly Oak Hospital on New Year´s Day in 2010 after developing abdominal pains the previous evening. Ross was diagnosed with severe necrotising pancreatitis and transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.
During the hospital admission process, Ross started to vomit bile. The bile blocked his respirator, but this went unnoticed by hospital staff until Ross – who was already undergoing treatment for a recurring brain tumour went into cardiac arrest due to acute respiratory failure.
Ross suffered a significant brain injury due to being deprived of oxygen, and – once he had been treated for the pancreatitis condition – was transferred in April 2010 to a specialist rehabilitation unit. He was discharged from the rehabilitation unit into the care of his family in August 2010, but tragically died in October.
After seeking legal advice, Ross´s mother, Carol, made a compensation claim for a fatal injury during the hospital admission process at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Carol alleged in the claim that the standard of care received by Ross during the admission process fell below an acceptable standard and was directly responsible for his death.
The University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust – the NHS Trust responsible for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital – denied that the care received by Ross during the admission process had been negligent. The NHS Trust contested the compensation claim for a fatal injury during the hospital admission process by arguing that the care Ross received was unrelated to the cause of his death.
After a protracted period of negotiation, the University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust eventually agreed to an undisclosed settlement of compensation without an admission of liability. Although glad that her claim for a fatal injury during the hospital admission process was finally resolved, Ross´s mother was upset about the NHS Trust´s failure to acknowledge liability. She told her local newspaper:
“We are bitterly disappointed that the Trust did not accept responsibility for the failings in his treatment. After he suffered the brain injury in early 2010, Ross needed 24-hour care as he wasn’t able to move independently or look after himself. We are devastated that he was taken away from us so suddenly and it is incredibly difficult for us to come to terms with.”