Pascal Bates Prosecutes Essex Hospital for Double Safety Failures

October 4, 2014

Pascal Bates has prosecuted Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for two quite separate sets of safety failings.
Between 2004 and 2010 the Trust failed to get to grips with the management of legionella in its complex water systems, despite having previously been prosecuted in 2004 for legionella management failures when a man died in 2002.  This put patients and their visitors at risk of catching potentially fatal Legionnaires’ disease, which especially affects those who are already elderly or unwell.  A number of patients became infected with the disease in 2006/7 and 2009/10, that infection being a cause of death of a 74 year old man in 2007 and a 54 year old man in 2010.  The 2010 infections revealed problems with the hospital’s Jubilee Wing which had not been addressed in the 8 years of its operation.
In a second case, an 80 year old female patient with a history of dementia fell over 4 metres from a first floor window in her hospital room on Jubilee Wing whilst in a confused state of mind.  Guidance had since at least 1998 made plain that window restrictors should have been fitted so as effectively to reduce the gap to a set limit.  The window was installed with an ability to open well beyond that limit and the Trust in a decade of operation of the Wing did not identify and address that problem or fully address it across the rest of their estate, such that almost 1,000 windows needed work in the aftermath of the incident.
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