Jane from Kent suffers from multiple sclerosis (MS), and stayed at the Defendant’s care home for two weeks whilst her husband, who is also her full-time carer, had a period of respite. During this stay, she was supposed to have two carers helping her to transfer from her wheelchair to her bed and to the bathroom. She also expected that the right sling would be used, and be used appropriately, for her transfers.
In April 2016, during a transfer, the wrong sling was used, and it was not positioned correctly. In addition, only one carer was performing the transfer. Jane slipped out of the sling and fell, injuring her knee. She was taken to hospital and diagnosed with a severe intra-articular fracture to her femur, for which she required surgery and the insertion of significant metalwork.
Jane instructed Pryers to investigate her potential claim. The local Adult Social Services had conducted an inquiry into what happened, and it appeared that only one carer was present, the wrong sling was used and this was not positioned accurately. Pryers also instructed an expert orthopaedic surgeon to provide his opinion on whether the injury was consistent with a fall, and what potential problems this may cause Jane in the future. The expert confirmed that the fracture was consistent with a fall from a hoist, rather than a controlled lower and that the ongoing pain and discomfort Jane continues to suffer with her knee would be permanent. He was also concerned that the trauma had exacerbated some of her MS symptoms. An expert neurologist was also instructed, who specialises in MS. He confirmed that the trauma had exacerbated her MS symptoms, in the form of worsening her spasms, for a few months following the fall.
These allegations were put to the Defendant care home, who accepted that they had breached the duty of care owed to Jane, and invited Pryers to engage in settlement negotiations. Following disclosure of evidence, the case settled for £11,000.