Gran awarded £250k after horror hospital fall sees her leg amputated

Maree Gibbins
Maree Gibbins

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A GRANDMOTHER whose leg was amputated after she was injured in a fall in hospital has been awarded a settlement of £250,000.

Maree Gibbins, 65, broke her leg while struggling to take herself to the toilet at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, after medical staff failed to respond to her ringing the bell for assistance.

The fall re-fractured her leg, which had been healing after a previous break, and surgeons later performed an amputation below the knee.

Clinical negligence specialist Patricia Wakeford, a senior associate at BL Claims Solicitors, took up Mrs Gibbins’s case, arguing that she would not have suffered the injury had nurses responded to her call for help.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which denied liability, agreed to the six-figure settlement ahead of the case being heard at trial in the High Court.

Mrs Gibbins, of Denmead, said: ‘When you are in hospital, you put your trust in the nurses and medical staff. If you need someone to help you, then you expect somebody to be there for you.

‘The amputation was a big knock to me. I’m just not the same as before – I can’t do all the things I used to do, particularly going out with the grandchildren.

‘I can no longer look after the little one on my own and I can’t drive any more, which severely restricts how much I can get out and about.

The 65-year-old, who has a condition that can cause her to feel light-headed when she stands up, was being treated at QA in April 2012 for a broken leg following a fall at home.

Her leg had been pinned and was healing well when, on the morning of her injury, she rang her bedside call bell to ask for a nurse to help her with her catheter.

After the nurse left to find a replacement, Mrs Gibbins began to need the toilet.

She rang her call bell but when there was no response after half an hour, she decided she had no option but to get herself there.

She then fell from her manual wheelchair while trying to move equipment in the toilet, breaking her leg.

Doctors were concerned about how her leg would heal and warned that if they did not amputate, she would face months in hospital and extensive surgery.

Reluctantly she agreed to the amputation.

Mrs Gibbins, who has two daughters and three grandchildren aged 16, 13 and two years old, now uses a motorised wheelchair.

The settlement will be used to make adaptations to her home and buy her a prosthetic leg.

Patricia Wakeford of BL Claims Solicitors said: ‘Mrs Gibbins has suffered significant pain and detriment to her quality of life which could have been avoided had the hospital staff responded to her call for help.’

A spokesperson for Portsmouth Hospitals Trust said: ‘The quality of patient care is the highest priority of Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust.

‘However, we are unable to comment on individual cases due to patient confidentiality, in line with trust policy.’