HOSPITAL chiefs have been ordered to pay a disabled woman £500,000 after a district nurse failed to properly diagnose infected pressure sores.
Angela Banks spent more than two-and-a-half years in hospital and was forced to have a section of her femur removed after the sores on her buttock sent an infection spreading through her thigh and pelvis.
It left her with a wound the size of two clenched fists. She spent more than 30 months receiving treatment at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary and underwent an operation to rid her body of the infection.
Now the 47-year-old, who was born with spina bifida, has secured the payout after medics admitted they had failed to spot the infection.
Last night Ms Banks, who lives in Heaton, Newcastle said: “Being in hospital for two-and-a-half years was worse than being in prison – it was soul destroying. I couldn’t go out, I couldn’t do anything.
“When I first came home, I was depressed because I live on my own and it was difficult not having anyone around. I didn’t go into this looking for money. I wanted them to admit they were wrong – it was never about the money.” Ms Banks was born with spina bifida, a congenital defect of the spine, and all her life has required a wheelchair to help her move around her home.
But in September 2005, district nursing staff failed to spot that a pressure sore which had developed on her buttock was becoming infected.
By May 2006 the infection was so bad that Ms Banks was left delirious, shaking and vomiting, and was taken to the Royal Victoria Infirmary by ambulance.
The sore was eventually treated and an operation was carried out to remove the infected area of thigh bone in June 2007. Five years on, she has been left with further complications.
Angela, a professional dog trainer who used to drive to shows throughout the North, said: “Because I have spina bifida, the experience was pain-free. For someone who wasn’t in a wheelchair, though, it would have been excruciatingly painful.”
Julia Cotterill, Ms Banks’ solicitor from Irwin Mitchell, said: “Angela had spent her life living with spina bifida, but she had been enjoying an independent and fulfilling life – she lived alone, enjoyed a range of social activities and relied on minimal levels of care. However, this has been undermined by a failure to escalate treatment of a medical complaint that should have been dealt with quickly.”
An NHS North of Tyne spokeswoman said: “We are pleased an out of court settlement has been reached. We sincerely regret the nursing treatment that was provided to Angela in 2005/2006 and we have written to Angela with an apology.
“The circumstances of the treatment and care provided to Angela have been investigated and we have learned lessons to minimise the risk of incidents like this happening again.”