Compensation Claim for Brain Damage due to Ambulance Delay Heard in Court

Posted on: June 24th, 2014 by Editor

The High Court in London has heard details of a compensation claim for brain damage due to an ambulance delay which devastated the life of a 36-year-old genetic scientist.

Judge Richard Parkes at the High Court heard how Caren Paterson collapsed in the bedroom of her North London flat in October 2007, and her boyfriend made an emergency 999 call to summon an ambulance.

Unfortunately Caren´s address had mistakenly been flagged as being in an area of “high risk”, and the ambulance waited for police to arrive for 100 minutes while Caren lay on the floor unconscious and breathing abnormally.

Shortly before police arrived to escort the paramedics, Caren went into cardiac arrest and sustained permanent brain damage. She now suffers from confusion, disorientation and chronic amnesia – conditions which mean Caren needs continuous care and will never be able to work again.

Due to her permanent injury, Caren was unable to represent herself in a compensation claim for brain damage due to an ambulance delay, and the claim was made on her behalf by her mother – Eleanor Paterson from Warkworth in Northumberland.

In her action against the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust Mrs Paterson alleged that, had not been for the Trust´s negligence in mistakenly flagging Caren´s flat as being in an area of high risk, Caren would not have sustained her permanent injury.

The Trust acknowledged that they had made a mistake and admitted liability for Caren´s brain injury. A package of compensation for brain damage due to an ambulance delay was negotiated, comprising of a £1.4 million payment to be paid immediately and annual index-linked payments thereafter.

The compensation settlement is worth approximately £5 million pounds based on Caren´s life expectancy, and it should allow Caren to move from her specialist care unit into her own home – where she will be cared for by nurses specially trained to care for brain damaged patients.

At the High Court, Judge Richard Parkes and Eleanor Paterson heard an apology read out on behalf of the London Ambulance NHS Trust for the shortcomings that had occurred on the night of Caren´s injury, after which the Judge approved the compensation package – paying tribute as he did so to the care that Eleanor Paterson has provided for her daughter over the last six years.


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