22nd August’19 – Our client Mrs B, from Herne Bay brought a clinical negligence claim as a result of being sexually assaulted whilst an in-patient in the Urology Ward at Kent & Canterbury hospital, Canterbury, Kent.
She was admitted to the Clarke Ward (Urology) at Kent and Canterbury Hospital on 01.11.17 for a routine colonoscopy. The care plan was for an overnight stay with discharge the following day. She was allocated a side room as opposed to a ward bed on a mixed ward.
Our client was woken at 3am to find a male patient stroking her feet with one hand and playing with his genitals and masturbating with the other hand. He was naked from the waist down.
Our client was extremely frightened and traumatised by the event. She screamed and pressed the panic buzzer in her room, however, no one came.
She had to shout at the male patient in order for him to leave her room.
She identified the male patient to a nurse and it became apparent that he had been wandering around repeatedly throughout the night. This was the fourth hospital bed that evening that he had tried to get into.
Nothing had been done to prevent this. It is understood that the patient had Alzheimer’s, and was prone to wandering.
Following the incident, our client was moved to a female ward directly opposite the nurses’ work station.
The initial response of the nurses was to treat the whole episode very light heartedly, almost like a joke. However, the Claimant was extremely upset, embarrassed, traumatised and in shock.
She developed a psychiatric disorder which required counselling and was prescribed anti-depressants. Her symptoms included nightmares, flashbacks and anxiety.
We obtained expert evidence from a Consultant Psychiatrist which indicated that she had developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the negligence, which impacted on her ability to lead a normal life.
The matter was investigated by Kent Police. Criminal charges were not pursued, however, due to the male patient not having mental capacity.
A Letter of Claim was sent to the Defendant Trust, claiming negligence and aggravated damages given the sexual nature of the incident.
In response, the Defendants denied all allegations of negligence. A full rebuttal letter was sent in reply but hey maintained their denial of liability.
As we prepared to issue proceedings the Defendant offered £27,000 in full settlement of the claim.
After negotiations settlement was achieved in the sum of £30,000.
Kate Kennell, Senior Solicitor who had conduct of the claim said:
“…being woken in a situation where she expected to be safe and then finding herself at risk of sexual abuse from a male patient severally traumatized my client. I hope that the compensation will enable her to have the recommended treatment so she can eventually put the whole awful episode behind her …”