Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in Essex, England, United Kingdom, has been fined £50,000 (US$71,952, €60,326, A$87,614, C$75,660) after a severely disabled patient at Basildon University Hospital died because of serious health and safety failings. Basildon Crown Court also ordered the trust to pay costs of £40,000 (US$57,552, €48,250, A$70,022, C$60,486).

20-year-old Kyle Flack, who came from Stanford-le-Hope in Essex, was deafblind and suffered from quadriplegia, cerebral palsy, and substantial learning difficulties. He died in October 2006 after suffocating when his head became jammed in the railings around his hospital bed.

The trust admitted that health and safety breaches were a “significant cause” of his death, said Pascal Bates for the prosecution. There had been significant errors in the hospital’s “systems and procedures”, as the patient had not been properly supervised, training of staff was inadequate, information had not been passed on correctly, and warnings had not been heeded. Bates told the court that the hospital had reached “markedly short” of the required standard, adding that “[m]anagement failed to lay down correct procedures.”

Earlier this year, Gill Flack, Kyle’s mother, called for bosses of the hospital to be held personally responsible for this incident. She described the hospital as the “worst place” for her child to have been cared for, saying that the standards of care there were “absolute crap”.