NHS trust apologises after Pontefract woman was left with a brain injury following Pinderfields Hospital fall
On November 2, 2018, mum-of-four Wendy Sockett, from Pontefract, was admitted to Pinderfields Hospital following a fall at home.
While a CT scan confirmed no bleeding or trauma to the head, she was diagnosed with several very serious medical conditions – including sepsis and multi-organ failure – which required urgent treatment and left her very weak.
She was admitted to the intensive care unit, where her condition stabilised before she was transferred to the ward.
At this time, the team determined she was at risk of a further fall and that it was not safe for her to move about on her own.
A note added to the whiteboard above her bed stated that she should not be moved from her bed.
However, on November 8, Mrs Sockett was given a walking frame and supported by a healthcare assistant to go to the bathroom, where, on standing, she became dizzy and collapsed on the floor.
The medical staff helped her back to bed but Mrs Sockett’s condition deteriorated later in the day with her suffering from severe headaches and vomiting.
On November 9, Mrs Sockett had another CT scan which showed a subdural haemorrhage – a life-threatening condition where blood pools under the skull, compressing the brain.
Speaking about her injury, Mrs Sockett’s husband, Colin, said: “It has been incredibly difficult to watch Wendy’s condition deteriorate since the fall. Our lives have been completely turned upside down as a result.”
Following the incident, the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which represents Pinderfields Hospital, went on to carry out an internal investigation, which concluded in 2019.
It revealed several issues, including a failure to share key information about Mrs Sockett’s condition with all staff and a lack of understanding among staff of signs of head injury.
The trust has since apologised to the family and admitted that “inadequate measures” were taken to prevent Mrs Sockett’s fall.
Talib Yaseen, chief nursing officer at Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust, said: “We are incredibly sorry about the experience of care Mrs Sockett had and for the impact of this on her and her family.
"It is our aim to provide excellent care to all our patients and when this falls short of what our patients expect we take responsibility and learn from this.
“Patient safety is an area of practice we are giving much more focus to with the introduction of a new NHS national patient safety framework which will be a fundamental and lasting change for the trust.”
The family’s legal representative, medical negligence lawyer Helen Cornforth from Thompsons Solicitors, said: “The injuries that Mrs Sockett sustained whilst in hospital are significant and have had a detrimental impact on her quality of life.
“Sadly, she is now at increased risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia and epilepsy and suffers from several other symptoms following her brain injury.
“Further to the trust’s admission of liability regarding the circumstances of the fall, we are now working to secure compensation that will provide her with access to the care, medical treatment and therapy that she desperately needs.”