Nurse wins £50,000 after slipping on Edinburgh hospital floor

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary
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A CASUALTY nurse who developed a debilitating health condition and developed depression after slipping on a wet hospital floor has been awarded almost £50,000 compensation.

Kathleen Ann McLeish, 60, was working at A&E at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary when she fell on a slippery surface there on June 10, 2011.

The Court of Session heard how cleaners at the medical facility failed to put down signs notifying colleagues that they were working in a wet area.

This caused Ms McLeish to fall and break her wrist. She broke later developed a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the body part.

The court heard how this was a condition which causes her “constant pain and disability”. It also leaves her unable to do many hobbies like swimming and playing the piano.

Ms McLeish is also do her job properly and has difficulties driving. The court heard that as a consequence of having CRPS, Ms McLeish became depressed and put on three stones comfort eating.

She was prescribed medication for her depression and had to be signed off work in a bid to recover.

On Friday, in a written judgement issued at the court in Edinburgh, judge Lord Mulholland ordered Ms McLeish’s employers - NHS Lothian - to pay her £48,206.

Lord Mulholland wrote: “The pursuer as a result of her injury and the long-term effect thereof has had to adjust the clothes she wears.

“She will often wear clothes with zips rather than buttons as she finds it difficult to use her left hand for activities requiring fine motor skills.

“She can dress independently but takes longer to do so. She used to enjoy swimming once or twice a week. She has rarely done this since the time of the accident as it causes her pain in her left wrist and left shoulder.

“She would occasionally play the piano at home for her own enjoyment which she is now not able to do so.

“With regard to household chores, she has had to adapt her methodology or wait for her family to come and help with the heavier chores.

“With regard to her employment she cannot do fine motor tasks such as suturing of any length and does not have the strength to manipulate broken bones back into place or conduct a physical examination which requires her to lift or move limbs.

“The injury has affected her confidence at work and her energy levels are devoted to getting through the working day.

“She does not see friends and family as much as before and is therefore more socially isolated.

“For the reasons I have set out, I have found the defender liable to make reparation to the pursuer in the total amount of £48,206.”

The judgement tells of how Ms McLeish, whose address hasn’t been disclosed, is a “very experienced” nurse who has worked at the A&E department at ERI since 1992.

On June 10, 2011, cleaners were working in a resuscitation room at A&E when Ms McLeish was showing two visitors around the facility.

The judgement tells of how Ms McLeish asked the cleaner if she could come in and there wasn’t any signs warning of wet floors. She was told she could come in but fell after taking three to four steps.

After sustaining a broken left wrist, Ms McLeish needed treatment and physiotherapy for her injury. However, she developed CRPS in her left hand which had an adverse effect on her everyday life.

The judgement tells of how she developed mental health problems as a consequence of the wrist injury.

Lord Mulholland wrote: “She required to devote all her injuries to her work and soon after work finished she tended to sleep to regain enough energy for the next working day.

“Her sleep pattern was disturbed and irregular. This resulted in low mood and diminished interest and enjoyment of life.

“She was much more tearful than before and comfort ate resulting in her gaining three stones in weight.

“She was prescribed anxiolytic anti-depressant medication but the depression worsened such that she was signed off by her GP in January 2015. Her medication was adjusted and this resulted in improvements.

“I accept that the cause of the disorder is the accident.”

Lord Mulholland ruled that NHS Lothian breached the Workplace (Health, Safety & Welfare) Regulations 1992 in that they didn’t do enough to prevent the incident.

Lord Mulholland wrote: “I therefore conclude that the pursuer received no warning (verbal, signage or visible) that the floor was wet.

“The placement of a wet floor sign would have prevented the pursuer from entering the room or entering it in the manner that she did.”