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Case study: hospital failure to identify pressure sores

Clarke Willmott have recently settled a case for a family where a hospital failed to identify or treat grade 4 pressure sores.

Mrs F was admitted to hospital on 5 January 2021. She had fallen at home and fractured her left humerus. She had also (unknown to anyone at the time) suffered a fracture to her pelvis. After a short stay in the hospital Mrs F was transferred to a care home for rehabilitation and physiotherapy. On arrival to the care home Mrs F was assessed and noted to be suffering from an untreated and undressed grade 4 pressure ulcer to her sacrum, with a wound down to the bone.

The care home made an immediate safeguarding report to the hospital, advising of its concerns around the failure by the hospital to notice the pressure ulcer. Unfortunately after admission to the care home Mrs F deteriorated and was readmitted to hospital on 1 March 2021 with suspected sepsis. Tests were carried out and it was noted that she did not have sepsis but instead had a serious infection from the pressure wound. It was at this point that the fracture to her pelvis was also diagnosed. It was concluded that this fracture had obviously occurred at the same time as the fractured humerus, however it had not been diagnosed at that point. This had contributed to the difficulties Mrs F was having with her mobility and had added to her deterioration. Mrs F sadly died on 23 March 2021 as a result of her injury.

Clarke Willmott were able to obtain a full set of medical records for Mrs F. In view of the safeguarding referral the hospital had carried out an investigation into the care of Mrs F which made a number of findings in relation to failures in her care. We were therefore able to produce a Letter of Claim to the hospital without the need to obtain expert evidence. Liability was admitted promptly by the hospital and negotiations were entered into. Settlement was reached in the sum of £25,000. The hospital also provided a full written apology for the family.


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