We have been following closely the story of the terrible events at Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport Greater Manchester where it appears that several patients have died possibly as a result of the contamination of ampoules of normally harmless saline solution.
At present it is known that three recent deaths are related to the contamination although the exact cause of death is yet to be established with a further death being investigated and several further patients believed to have been affected to varying degrees.
As lawyers who specialise in Clinical Negligence claims we are sadly all too familiar with tragedies such as this resulting from accidental contamination however we understand that the Greater Manchester Police are treating this as a criminal investigation as evidence suggests that the ampoules containing the saline had been deliberately tampered with.
It will take further investigation to establish if there is a direct link between the contamination and the cause of the deaths as all of the patients who have died were described as being seriously ill irrespective of the contaminated treatment but it is clear that both Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and the Greater Manchester Police are concerned that the contaminated saline solution may have had some effect.
Duty of care
Although as stated above we are most familiar with dealing
with medical negligence matters where there is negligence on the part of the
individual Doctor Surgeon Nurse G.P. etc the Stockport NHS Foundation Trust
still has a duty of care to its patients to protect it from malicious or
criminal injury while they are within its care. Ultimately criminal proceedings may be brought in relation to this matter and the perpetrator brought to justice however there will still be a need for recompense and justice for the individuals affected and their families
and that must come in the form of a civil compensation claim against the NHS
Trust directly for allowing this to happen while patients are in their care.
Dr Chris Burke Chief Executive of Stockport NHS Foundation Trust said: ‘We have increased security both in terms of access to the hospital and access to medicines and already replaced all saline ampoules across the hospital.’ Although this in itself is
not an admission that the saline ampoules were generally accessible it does
suggest that access may not have been as restricted as it is following this
Although we are a national firm we do have a significant
client base in our local South Manchester area and many of our staff have Stepping
Hill as their nearest hospital for both themselves and their families so the
impact of this on a personal level cannot be emphasised enough.
We would like to do what we can to offer advice
and assistance to anyone who has been affected by this and feel that we have the right experience to help the victims through this difficult process. If you have been affected and would like to discuss this with our medical negligence team please call us on 0800 294 6250 complete the enquiry form or email firstname.lastname@example.org