£210,000 recovered from Barnet Hospital after poor nursing care causes need for heart bypass surgery | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

£210,000 recovered from Barnet Hospital after poor nursing care causes need for heart bypass surgery

Mehmet fell from a step ladder and banged his head. He was taken to Barnet Hospital and was diagnosed as having suffered a small bleed in his brain.

Subsequently, the bleed was treated surgically at the Royal Free Hospital, without complication.

During his admission to Barnet Hospital, Mehmet was subjected to serious failings in very basic nursing care and hygiene. A cannula (a tube via a needle) was inserted into Mehmet’s right and left wrists through which fluids and medication could be introduced into him. As a result of poor nursing care the cannula sites became infected with MRSA, which went undiagnosed and untreated.

The allegations of negligence included that the nurse did not wash her hands before inserting the cannulas, or wear gloves, and did not subsequently check the cannula sites in his wrists for signs of infection and cleanliness. Unfortunately, as a result of these failings, bacterial infection developed in both wrists which were not diagnosed or acted upon, even though Mehmet’s ex-wife informed the nurses more than once that the sites looked infected and were smelly. The care taken of the cannula sites did not comply with Barnet Hospital’s own policy relating to cannulas. The hospital had come under similar criticism previously in the press.

The infection continued to get worse, and Mehmet became progressively unwell with fever, drowsiness and disorientation. Still no recognition, investigation or treatment was made, and he was later transferred to the Royal Free Hospital. Very quickly after arrival, he was diagnosed with MRSA infection and seen to have abscesses and cellulitis at both cannula sites. He was extremely ill.

Mehmet had undergone heart valve replacement surgery many years earlier.  Sadly, because the MRSA had been left untreated, it had spread to his heart and seriously damaged the heart valve. He had to undergo urgent heart surgery to replace the valve. His recovery was slow and difficult.

At the time of the nursing negligence and poor treatment, Mehmet was still working as an electrician. However, even if he had not had the MRSA infection, he would probably have only been able to work for a few more years because of his pre-existing heart problem.

Mehmet instructed medical negligence specialist and Partner, Edwina Rawson. The defendant, Barnet & Chase Farm Hospital NHS Trust, admitted negligence. Causation was denied, arguing that even if the infection had been identified, earlier treatment with antibiotics would not have prevented the spread. However, the claim settled successfully for £210,000.

Mehmet confirmed that the outcome exceeded his expectations and had this to say about Edwina;

Edwina did a brilliant job in dealing with my case, with total professionalism and legal skill. She relentlessly pushed the case forward to reach a successful conclusion. She was brave and did not give up. She was also compassionate, and genuinely cared about me and the outcome.

Barnet Hospital, Wellhouse Lane, Chipping Barnet cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Christine Matthews - geograph.org.uk/p/56737

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