Do Carers owe a Duty of Care?
Posted on 18th July 2019
Whether it be a veterinarian to the animals they are treating, or to the beautician who is waxing your eyebrows, or in deed eyebrow in some cases, there is a level of duty of care owed to clients, customers, colleagues, employers and the public in general.
A duty of care is a right to which certain individuals have; it is not something that can be opted out of via a yes/no questionnaire. When our solicitors in Preston, who deal with medical negligence are pursuing a claim for damages for our clients, one of the first things to establish, is whether a duty of care was owed to the individual who has suffered a loss, that has been subsequently breached. This is what helps our solicitors form the basis of your claim for personal injury.
One particular hot topic our solicitors in Lancaster have found, is what level of duty of care is owed by a carer. Having a loved one who requires the services of a carer can be a difficult pill to swallow.
The Social Care Institute for Excellence stipulate that carers are to:
Act in the best interests of individuals and others;
Not to act, or fail to act, in a way that results in harm;
To act within their competence and not take on anything they do not believe they can safely do.
In one particular case, this has most certainly been the basis of dispute, where one unfortunate woman, Julie Cleworth aged 43, passed away after claims that the deceased was starved to death as a result of the actions, or lack of, of her carer, Tracy Burrows.
The deceased was disabled and required care visits up to five times a day by her carers. She was unable to feed, dress or manoeuvre herself around as she could not stand without the assistance of her carers. Her needs, therefore, even to a lay person, were obvious and apparent. To make matters worse, the deceased suffered learning difficulties and mental health issues. As you can see, she was heavily reliant on the assistance of her carers which one day in particular, she was denied of, and the results were tragic.
One particular care assistant, Julie Burrows, was on shift to visit the deceased, however, she did not visit and attend upon the deceased at all. In fact, she simply sat outside the bungalow, in which the deceased was residing for no longer than 30 seconds, before she informed the trainee, who was with Burrows at the time, that the deceased was out. Burrows then made the decision to go and visit her own mother, instead of carrying out her role as a carer, and ‘acting in the best interests of individuals and others’.
To add to what already is seemingly negligent, in the opinion of our solicitors who deal with medical negligence, Burrows then went on to lie to her superiors stating that she had looked through the deceased’s home and that there was nobody there.
This was where the negligence, in effect, became fatal to the deceased. As a result of Burrows’ comments, her superiors assumed that the deceased was back in hospital, following her lengthy medical history, and subsequently cancelled her care package, and care visits. They had, however, assumed wrong in this instance.
The deceased was left for three days with no food, water or medication which, as above, she so desperately required her carers to assist with. This was only revealed when the hospital made contact with the care providers for confirmation as to how the patient would be making her way to an appointment, as she would require assistance for the same. The deceased was then discovered, in her home, having starved to death as a result of the duty of care she was owed by care professionals, being breached.
The matter was brought within the Liverpool Crown Court, where it was heard that the deceased had starved to death after being on her own for three and a half days, resulting in a breach of duty that was so negligent, that it was criminal. The deceased had suffered ketoacidosis, where harmful substances had built up in the body, and due to the lack of care she had received, at a cost, her life was taken.
Burrows goes on to deny the allegations of manslaughter and has been aiming for a lesser charge, of wilful neglect. The case continues, however, the breach of duty is extremely clear cut. Our solicitors in Preston and Lancaster, who deal with medical negligence, will be following this matter closely and are interested to see how this case concludes. Our solicitors in Lancaster would hope, that the same is settled with the justice the deceased deserves.
With such a sensitive and difficult issues arising as a result of breach of duty of care, our solicitors in Lancaster are made up of the best medical negligence solicitors, who will aim to obtain the damages that are deserved in such cases.
If you believe that you have been owed a duty of care, which has been breached, causing you to suffer a loss, contact our solicitors in Lancaster today at firstname.lastname@example.org, and our team will be on hand to assist.
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