The bereaved family of an elderly lady who was subject to catastrophic neglect whilst a resident in a care home have accepted a settlement in respect of a claim for clinical negligence against the care home.
The Claimant, who had advanced vascular dementia, was a resident in a care home. She fell in her bedroom sustaining bruising to her face and a laceration above her left eye. She was taken to hospital where it was noted that her body temperature was unusually low.
Once the Claimant had received treatment for her injuries, she was discharged from the hospital. The hospital noted on the Claimant’s discharge paperwork that her temperature was low and she should be kept warm. The paperwork was handed to staff when the Claimant arrived back at the care home.
The Claimant was settled back into a bedroom at the care home which was noted, by staff, to feel cold. The Claimant was apparently checked on by several members of staff over the following few days. On each occasion the Claimant’s bedroom was noted to be cold but no arrangements were made to rectify the situation. On one occasion the Claimant was found slumped in an armchair in her bedroom wearing only a cotton nightdress and covered with a thin blanket.
Following a change of shift staff, the Claimant was checked on. She was found to be not breathing and an ambulance was called.
On arrival at hospital, the Claimant’s core body temperature was recorded on an electronic ear thermometer as 25.3 degrees centigrade, a temperature not compatible with human life. She was diagnosed with severe hypothermia. The Claimant went into cardiac arrest and passed away later that evening.
The Defendant’s representative admitted liability for the death of the Claimant and an early settlement was reached between the parties.
Speaking of the settlement, Emma Hudson of the CNCI team said:
“This is a tragic example of a vulnerable older person and her family being let down by a care home. Warmth and safety are basic human needs. It is extremely sad that the Claimant died as a result of such a fundamental breach of the duty of care. We are pleased to have been able help the Claimant’s family to find some closure on what has been a very upsetting time for them.”