Every year, approximately 150,000 people in the UK suffer a stroke. We have heard how stokes can affect those young and old, fit and healthy. BBC television presenter Andrew Marr has recently returned to our television screens following a stroke he suffered nine months ago.
Stroke is the third most common cause of death in the UK and can have devastating consequences for those affected. Over half of the 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK are left with disabilities that affect their daily lives.
I recently acted for a client in relation to alleged substandard treatment he received at a care home following a stroke. My client lacked capacity and was bringing proceedings through his litigation friend.
The morning after my client’s admission to the defendant’s care home he was found lying on the floor with significantly raised blood pressure. There was no evidence that the nursing staff assessed why he had fallen. The next day he was again found lying on the floor in his room by the nursing staff. His blood pressure was again noted to be high, but again no action was taken. This was despite the fact that the nursing notes recorded that my client had a reduced grip in his right hand, he was dragging his right leg and his speech was slurred.
My client’s daughter contacted the care home on the same day. The nursing staff relayed my client’s symptoms to his daughter over the telephone. This caused her to ask whether her father had suffered a stroke. She was assured by the nurse on duty that her father had not suffered a stroke; he simply required rest.
The following day, my client’s family contacted their GP, who immediately telephoned for an ambulance. My client was taken to hospital where it was confirmed that he had suffered a stroke.
Expert evidence concluded that the nursing care afforded to my client was below that expected of reasonable and competent nurses. My client’s family were reassured inappropriately and a referral to the GP or hospital should have been made as a matter of urgency after my client’s initial fall.
As a result of the stroke, my client is now unable to use his right arm and can no longer carry out minor tasks that he was able to perform before the stroke. He is unable to walk independently and is confined to either his bed or his chair. He requires assistance with all aspects of his daily life.
After negotiations with the defendant I have been able to reach a favourable settlement for my client, subject to the approval of the court.