Nursing assistant left traumatised by work stabbing in damages victory

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Nursing assistant left traumatised by work stabbing in damages victory

6th November 2012

A nursing assistant who was left severely traumatised after she was stabbed by a patient at work has received £382,000 in compensation in an out of court settlement.

Daniel Denton, a serious injuries and employer’s liability specialist at Fentons Solicitors LLP, said the woman, who is in her 30s, suffered permanent scarring and severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following the incident.

“My client was working the night shift at an acute psychiatric unit when she was asked to help a colleague restrain a disturbed patient who needed medication,” said Daniel, a legal executive at the firm. “As she was helping to hold and bring the woman safely to the ground, the patient suddenly produced a knife and stabbed her in the abdomen.

“My client was rushed to hospital in a great deal of pain and distress and terrified she was about to die,” he said. “After a CT scan revealed the four-inch blade had narrowly missed piercing a kidney, she was treated and remained in hospital for the next four days before she was discharged.”

Over the next several months, the claimant suffered insomnia, exhaustion, flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares and after struggling to cope with a debilitating mix of chronic sleep-deprivation, depression and perpetual anxiety, she began self-medicating with excessive alcohol and anti-depressants and was diagnosed with severe PTSD.

“The PTSD my client has struggled with since the assault has significantly affected her life, making her increasingly withdrawn and unable to work in any capacity,” said Daniel. “After the defendant admitted liability, we were able to secure more than £17,000 in interim payments which was used to fund both psychiatric and psychological treatment that my client received on a private basis. However, despite extensive therapy and counselling, her alcohol consumption has increased and she continues to suffer with a number of disabling symptoms.

“Not only has my client withdrawn from employment but she also struggles to engage in any kind of social life,” added Daniel. “She now very rarely leaves her home and when she does, she normally has to be accompanied by a family member or friend. She remains extremely anxious and she is finding it increasingly difficult to respond to treatment. In addition, her depressive symptoms have remained largely unchanged for the last several months and she now suffers from agoraphobia.

“At the time of her assault, my client had started a training course and was working towards becoming a psychiatric nurse,” said Daniel. “She now needs to be under the care of a consultant psychiatrist; she needs in-patient treatment for her alcohol dependence and she needs further intensive treatment for her PTSD and depression, as without effective treatment, there is a significant risk her condition could become chronic. Despite currently being unable to work in any capacity, we hope that following successful treatment, she should be able to return to work in time although it is unlikely she would be able to return to nursing.”

Daniel secured £382,000 in compensation on behalf of his client in October 2012.

How can Fentons Solicitors help?

Fentons has a specialist department experienced in handling claims for victims of injuries sustained in the workplace as well as considerable experience in helping those making applications to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.

If you think that you have a case or require further information contact Fentons on 0800 0191 297 or fill in the online claims questionnaire