Medical Negligence

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Five-figure compensation for family of woman who died after fall in A&E

View profile for Malcolm Underhill
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The family of a woman who died in hospital after a series of failings by NHS medics has been awarded a five-figure sum in compensation. The Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has offered an unreserved apology, but Christine Carpenter’s family have said her death has left a “big hole in their lives”. 

Patient left unattended for more than seven hours

Hospital Corridor

The family of Christine Carpenter has received significant damages after the 61-year-old mother-of-seven died following a fall in an A&E department.

Mrs Carpenter had been fighting cancer for 15 years when she was admitted to Hull Royal Infirmary in October 2014. Shortly before her admission, she had been diagnosed with terminal ovarian and peritoneal cancer and had been feeling extremely unwell, with her family then deciding to take her to the emergency department.

No isolation beds were available on the ward and Mrs Carpenter was placed on temporary trolley. Her husband Paul, 58, stayed with her until 1am, by which time she had fallen to sleep. He spoke to three members of staff before he left to warn them that his wife seemed disorientated, and to voice his concern that she was dehydrated. Although he was assured that he should go home and not worry, the A&E staff failed to keep an eye on his wife. She was left unchecked for seven hours.

During the night, Mrs Carpenter fell from the trolley and fractured her left hip.

A&E department had 25% fewer nurses than recommended level

Due to the severity of the fracture, Mrs Carpenter was forced to undergo surgery. After the procedure, an infection took hold. This led to septicemia, which ultimately caused her death in December 2014.

An inquest into Christine’s death found that the emergency department was significantly understaffed at the time of her fall, with around 25 per cent fewer nurses than recommended levels. She was also severely dehydrated.

The Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted that the care Mrs Carpenter received fell below the level that she was reasonably entitled to expect. The Trust also accepted responsibility for the fracture she sustained. Mike Write, chief nurse at Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals, stated:

“I would like to express my sincere condolences to Mrs Carpenter’s family and offer an unreserved apology for the failures demonstrated in her care.

Changes in practice were made shortly after the incident to minimize the likelihood of the event ever happening again, and these include the introduction of a specific fall risk assessment tool in the emergency department and changes to the physical care environment for the frail and the elderly.

We have also introduced a technique called intentional rounding, which ensures patients’ needs are more closely reviewed at regular intervals”.

Speaking after the inquest, Paul Carpenter spoke of his family’s loss. He said his wife “lived for her family”, including their 19 grandchildren, and was “going through enough with her cancer” and was “in tears with the pain” after sustaining the fracture. He stated:

“She was the head of the family. If they had kept an eye on her, she wouldn’t have fallen out of the bed.  She has left a big hole in our lives. No amount of compensation can change what has happened but I’m coping the best I can”.

Compensation for victims of NHS Negligence

You are entitled to expect a certain standard of treatment from those providing medical assistance to you. If this treatment falls below standard you may be entitled to recover the cost of the private medical treatment needed to correct the failings on the part of those originally treating you. Our goal at IBB Law is to obtain justice for victims of the negligence by others, by securing compensation that reflects their pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses including loss of earnings, treatment costs and specialist care costs.

If you want to enquire about making a NHS negligence claim, please contact one of our medical negligence solicitors on 0333 123 9099.

Alternatively, you can send an email with your name and contact information and brief details as to the nature of the accident/clinical negligence and the injuries sustained to  and one of our team will be able to help you.

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