Back to Blog

Ambulance Delay Caused Brain Damage

Caren Paterson suffered brain damage after waiting nearly 2 hours for an ambulance which was waiting just 100 metres away. This case illustrates how easily simple mistakes can cause devastating, life-changing injuries.

The ambulance crew apparently waited outside because they had been not told not to enter without a police escort. In fact the warning applied to different residents.

This unfortunate woman had developed breathing difficulties which prevented oxygen reaching her brain and left her with a very severe brain injury. Situations like this are a clear emergency. Although the brain can manage without oxygen for a very short period of time, damage can occur very quickly.

It's vital the ambulance crews reach people on time. Research shows that it is in fact more important for ambulance crews to attend quickly than for patients get to hospital quickly. The absolute priority is to ensure that patients are able to breath properly to prevent exactly this sort of damage.

Sadly a short period without enough oxygen can cause lifelong disability. Ms Paterson is making a legal claim and it will be crucial for her to recover the sort of damages which enable her to obtain the best possible care for life.

Our own experience is that awards can cover the cost of paying for carers to help when necessary, obtaining a wide range of equipment to assist with daily activities and meeting the cost of appropriate accommodation. Such awards can run to several million pounds. Whilst they may sound high, the awards simply reflect the very considerable costs incurred when a person is seriously disabled.

One can only hope that, given the Ambulance Service’s admitted errors, she recovers the best award possible to make the best of a terrible situation.

Paul Sankey is a Principal Clinical & Negligence Negligence Solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

For a free consultation call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9049 or contact us online and we'll be happy to help you.