Hospital Admits to Errors Causing Childs Death

Stoke Mandeville Hospital has admitted to a number of errors they made which resulted in the death of a 4 year old boy, Oliver Blockley. The young child was given a 95% chance of living when admitted to hospital and later died after the NHS trust made 28 mistakes in his care.

Oliver Blockley was admitted to hospital with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. He was misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis, an illness that can’t be treated with antibiotics which means he wasn’t given the medicine that would have saved his life.

A blood test should have picked up that Oliver had Strep A, an invasive form of sore throat bacteria. The tests showed he was severely dehydrated and was headed for septic shock yet doctors continued to refuse him antibiotics and fluids. Throughout the night the doctors and nurses failed to identify Olivers unusually fast heartbeat and rapid breathing.

Hours after entering hospital, Oliver went into septic shock and suffered cardiac arrest which led to his death. His mother, Jennifer Blockley, was initially denied information about the chances her son had of surviving if medics had acted sooner. Even after the death nurses continued to tell Ms Blockley that Oliver died due to a stomach bug.

The trust admits that Oliver would have survived if it wasn’t for the negligent care he received while in the hospitals care. They admit he didn’t receive the proper medication, fluids or supervision required.

Anne Eden, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has said the investigation will be as transparent as possible. A letter of apology has been written to the boys family in which it admits to 28 counts of clinical negligence.

Ms Eden has revealed a number of changes have been made including improving the early warning process for recognising when a child’s condition is deteriorating, improving how they treat gastroenteritis and the use and types of fluids given to patients.

The family’s solicitor Laura Cook, of Darby’s Solicitors, said: “It’s another sad example of the NHS only admitting to mistakes after legal action is taken, putting the family through additional stress at what is already such a traumatic time.”

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Warning on plans to restrict list of whiplash experts

The British Medical Association (BMA) has said it is concerned about plans from the government to limit the kinds of doctors who are able to report on soft tissue injuries such as whiplash.

The Ministry of Justice has put forward plans to change the rules setting out which types of medical experts are able to be instructed by personal injury solicitors to write reports on whiplash injury cases.

These plans seem to restrict those experts who may be instructed in England and Wales to:

• GPs
• Chartered physiotherapists
• Consultant orthopaedic surgeons

Now the chair of the medico-legal committee of the British Medical Association, Jan Wise, has commented that these proposals could severely limit the kinds of experts which those who have suffered a whiplash injury would be likely to see.

She insisted that reports should be allowed to be produced by any doctor who had the appropriate knowledge and expertise.

So that, for example, could extend to higher-level trainee doctors, staff and associate specialists and A & E department consultants.

Dr Wise added: “A & E consultants particularly are frequently involved in managing the treatment of patients with these kinds of injuries, and then often in the follow-up and management of their conditions in review clinics. So they should be incorporated within the list of experts who are permitted to write the reports for these cases.

“At the BMA, we will be making a response to this consultation. And it’s also important that, equally, doctors make submissions of their own responses so that the government appreciates the strength of feeling which is out there.”

The move is one element of a broader drive by the government to bring down the cost and number of whiplash compensation claims.

According to the government, personal injury claims increased by 60% in the six years to 2012, although reported accidents during the same time frame was down by 20%, and vehicles have generally become safer.

The Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) which represents personal injury solicitors, and the ministry, have collaborated on the project to seek more information on road accident claims from medical experts. It ends this month.

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Banned motorists face a decade behind bars for fatal accidents

The government has unveiled plans for tougher punishments for banned drivers, including 10 years’ imprisonment for those who are responsible for a fatal accident while driving when disqualified. This is a rise from the current maximum two-year term.

Another law is to be introduced by Justice Secretary Chris Grayling to penalise motorists who’ve been banned from driving with four years behind bars if they become responsible for causing serious injury.

Both new penalties form part of broader proposals to make sure that motorists who pose a danger to the lives of others on the road face harsher punishments and have to spend more time in prison.

The move follows government consultation with victims’ families, with the changes set to be introduced in 2015.

Among the other target for the reforms are those who get behind the wheel without proper insurance, or a proper driving license.

Mr Grayling said: “We wanted to send out a very clear message that any driver who decides to drive when they have been banned and so shouldn’t be on the road will face far tougher penalties.”

Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan, while broadly supporting the coalition’s plans, said he was concerned that there would not be sufficient room in the UK’s jails to cope with all the offenders adequately.

The proposed changes serve as a useful reminder of the option you have to pursue a claim for personal injury compensation if you are involved in a road traffic accident through no fault of your own.

That could include collisions in which a banned or uninsured motorist was responsible, as well as those involving someone who was simply behaving negligently on the road.

In most cases, not only do you need to be able to prove you were not to blame, but the incident needs to have taken place within the last three years.

The amount of personal injury compensation awarded can vary greatly, and will depend on a number of variable factors. But you can maximise your chances by seeking the support of a reputable firm of personal injury solicitors to help you pursue your claim.

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School Pleads Guilty for Failing to Manage Asbestos

Bloomfield Collegiate has been found guilty of health and safety breaches relating to its management of asbestos. A survey of the school buildings found asbestos in shelves, cupboards and in the hallway.

Bloomfield’s board of governors pleaded guilty to three breaches of health and safety law and were fined £7,500, plus costs of £1,750.

In June 2011 the affected buildings were rented out by Bloomfield Collegiate to a nursery. An asbestos survey was carried out on the school in 2004 but not on the smaller buildings that would later house the nursery.

The buildings were also used as an after-schools facility and regularly by girls from the main school along with teachers, administration and cleaners.

It wasn’t until May 21, 2012 that the school carried out a survey which uncovered asbestos-containing materials. The survey found high levels of asbestos in the air and asbestos debris on furniture. It concluded that staff, contractors and children using the building were at risk of being exposed to asbestos.

Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland was notified and conducted a test that discovered “elevated levels” of asbestos. The buildings were immediately closed to pupils as a precaution.

Prosecuting lawyers said the “board was aware there was a potential problem in June 2011, but did not do anything until May the following year.”

However the defence lawyer argued that the Board of Governors believed the buildings were checked during the initial asbestos survey in 2004 and that the principal was extremely proactive when raising the issue in 2011.

The Judge said: “It is clear that the individuals concerned and the members of the board have shown remorse and that it is obvious from the actions that were taken once this material was discovered.”

He added there was never any deliberate intention to expose anyone to the asbestos and that the offences weren’t financially motivated.

It was revealed to the court that the school is undergoing financial difficulties and has no way of raising more money or paying off debts. The school is now controlled by the Department of Education

Asbestos is the single greatest cause of death in UK workplaces and causes serious diseases when inhaled.

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US woman receives nearly $15m after bus accident

While personal injury solicitors in the UK are undoubtedly good at winning compensation claims, they’ll have a lot to do if they want to get a settlement even close to one recently agreed in the United States.

A court in California has this week awarded a 20-year-old mother almost $15 million (£8.9 million) after she was hurt when a bus she was travelling on went over a speed bump.

Maria Francisco was bounced off her seat so violently that she damaged her vertebrae. At the time, the bus driver refused to accept that she’d been genuinely injured, but later x-rays in hospitals showed that surgery was required.

The bus was travelling at 30mph, twice the speed limit for the area due to it being a school zone. A video played in court showed Ms Francisco coming off her seat and then landing on her back.

Driver, Dolly Gilmore, did stop the bus, but merely accused Ms Francisco of faking injury before threatening to sue her for wasting her time.

Ms Francisco’s medical bills came to around $1 million and it is estimated that she will need another $2.4 worth of treatments in the future.

A jury found in favour of the claimant, ordering the bus company to pay $14.3 million in compensation plus a further $1 million for the emotional anguish caused to her daughter, who witnessed the accident.

The incident has taken nearly three years to go through the court process and Ms Francisco said she was pleased to have the matter finally settled. She added that she will be praying that similar accidents do not happen to other people, as her injuries have caused a “tremendous strain” on her and members of her family.

Ms Francisco is able to walk, but encounters pain on a daily basis and her condition is likely to get worse with age. The court was told that the injury now makes it very difficult for her to have sex and she is unlikely have any more children as a result.

While the payout is huge, it is still dwarfed by the largest ever won by personal injury solicitors in the UK. Back in 2012, 17-year-old Agnes Collier was awarded £23 million for injuries suffered in a car accident in Gloucestershire.

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Multi-million pound compensation likely

A Shrewsbury man has won substantial damages this week, which are expected to be several million pounds, after being severely injured in an accident for which he was said to be 40% to blame. The High Court in London heard that 38-year-old Ian Groves, jumped on the bonnet of a moving car being driven by a friend after an argument. The driver, Jonathan Studley, was said to be ‘largely to blame’ for the accident because he drove with Mr Groves clinging to the bonnet and then swerved violently to get him off.

As a result, the 38-year-old has been left with catastrophic injuries which include difficulties with speech and cognitive skills, mobility problems and possibly epilepsy. Mr Groves will need 24-hour care for the rest of his life, the court was told. He was awarded 60% of what could be a multi-million pound compensation settlement.

Mr Studley received a 22 month jail sentence, after admitting numerous charges, including dangerous driving. The incident followed a dispute over a pair of trainers, the court heard. Mr Groves’ mother, June Groves, had sued Mr Studley for damages on her son’s behalf.

Fortunately, these kinds of accident are rare, although the man’s injuries are consistent with this type of road traffic incident. The level of compensation is high but not unprecedented and personal injury solicitors will not be surprised at the sums involved, given the severity of the injuries to the victim, even if he was partly to blame.

Serious accidents cost in the region of £20-£40 billion a year in the UK, although Britain can still boast one of the lowest accident rates worldwide. ‘Serious’ injuries are defined as such when the victim has to go to hospital as an in-patient, or suffers broken bones, severe burns, organ damage or concussion.

According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA ) around three million people get injured in the UK every year, 30,000 of which are deemed ‘life-changing’ injuries. Some 14,000 people are killed in accidents every year, with 5,000 occurring in the home. Half of all brain injuries, like the one described above, are caused by traffic accidents.

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More Accusers Come Forward Over Max Clifford Alligations

The publicist Max Clifford has been found guilty over indecent assault against young girls and woman between 1977 and 1985 and was sentenced to jail for 8 years. He becomes the first person to be convicted under Operation Yewtree.

Clifford was given the maximum sentence possible in accordance with the laws at the time his offending took place. If he was tried under today’s laws some of the offences would be considered rape which can hold a life sentence.

The maximum sentence was partly because of Clifford’s attitude in court having been observed laughing and shaking his head while the accusations were made against him.

The Judge said: “I find your behaviour to be quite extraordinary and a further indication that you show no remorse.”

He added: “These offences may have taken place a long time ago, when inappropriate and trivial sexual behaviour was more likely to be tolerated, but your offending was not trivial, but of a very serious nature.”

Clifford remained defiant until the end, claiming his accusers were “fantasists” and proclaiming: “I stand by everything I have said in the last 17 months.”

Since the conviction Scotland Yard has confirmed other people have come forward with fresh allegation against Clifford. The spokesman said: “We have received further information and this is currently subject to review.”

During the trial the prosecution told how Clifford’s actions have ruined the lives of the four women. In a statement read out by the prosecution it revealed one woman would cry whenever she saw him on TV and how a woman – 15 years old at the time – missed out on her first sexual experience with someone her own age.

The investigation into Cliffords crimes is part of Operation Yewtree which was set up to investigate the offences of British media personality Jimmy Savile and others. The sentencing has taken some pressure off the prosecution after a string of not guilty verdicts have been given to other media personalities being investigated.

Since the beginning of Operation Yewtree over 200 potential victims have been identified and 400 lines of enquiry have been opened.

The prosecution has applied for Clifford to pay costs of £66,704.

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