The Duty of Care owed to you by A&E Staff
Posted on 23rd January 2019 at 09:28
You’ve been injured at work, injured in a road traffic accident, or bashed your head after tripping over a defect in the local high street. So what do you do? Well, before contacting your nearest personal injury solicitors, you attend A&E, your local Accident an Emergency Department, where, most of the time at least, you’ll be extremely well looked after, by everyone from the receptionist, to the triage nurse attending upon you.
Or will you? Ok, it only happens on rare occasions, but in the case of Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust  UKSC 50, Mr Darnley, and his local personal injury specialist, had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get justice, after being denied the same in the County Court, and Court of Appeal.
The facts of the case are relatively simple, and the Supreme Court were not interested in draw-out debate pertaining to whether or not a duty of care was owed to the Claimant, and simply stated that that the Defendant Hospital did indeed owe a duty of care, and that the same should not have been breached. You see, in what the writer sees as a very strange case to end up in the Supreme Court (the writer, a prolific personal injury solicitor from Preston, has helped thousands of people to obtain compensation arising out of instances of medical negligence), the facts of the case are as follows:
The Claimant, a 26-year-old-man, was assaulted, suffering a, rather serious, personal injury to the head. His friend drove him to the Accident and Emergency Department of Croydon Hospital, and the receptionist advised the Claimant that there was a 5 hour waiting time, before anyone could be seen by the triage nurse. When the Claimant left, proclaiming that he could not wait that long, he left, went home, and following a deterioration in his condition, had to be rushed back to the hospital, and this time a CT scan identified a large extradural haematoma. The Claimant had surgery, and suffered permanent brain damage.
The court of first instance’s finding was, argues the writer, nothing less than bizarre-ordering that it was neither, just, nor reasonable, to impose liability upon the defendant for harm arising as a result of the failure by the receptionist staff to inform the claimant of the likely waiting time to be seen by a triage nurse. The Claimant’s request for the Court of Appeal to hear the case was, similarly, dismissed, with the court of first instance’s ruling, that basically, the receptionist at A&E had not, subject to common law, breached any duty owed by the trust to an injured party. Imagine that, from an Accident and Emergency department dealing with road traffic accidents and horrific accidents in the workplace.
However, as solicitors who deal in medical negligence will tell you, hospitals are usually very safe places to be. And in this case, the Claimant finally won his case; the Supreme Court quite simply ruling, much to the relief of the Claimant, his choice of accident compensation solicitors, and of course, those like MG Legal, your local Personal Injury solicitors in Preston, Lancaster and Garstang, that it was reasonably foreseeable that a person who believed that it might be four or five hours before he would be seen by a doctor might decide to leave. Lord Lloyd-Jones had no doubt that the provision of such misleading information by a receptionist was negligent, and that woudl it not have been for the misleading information by the receptionist, the injured Claimant, may well have waited. It trasnpires that those unfortunate enough to have suffered injuries akin to those of the Claimant, we being seen by a triage nurse in around 30 minutes.
The Claimant’s personal injury solicitor stuck in there, and in the end, the right result was ordered by the court, and the Claimant received compensation arising out of the Defendant’s medical negligence.
MG Legal, personal injury solicitors in Preston, have offices in Garstang, Preston and our expert team of solicitors in Longridge offer a service to all of our clients that is second to none. Our reviews speak for themselves, and all personal injury work is accepted on a NO WIN NO FEE Basis.
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