Actress Leslie Ash has been awarded £5m in compensation after she contracted an infection while being treated in hospital.
In 2004, the former star of the BBC TV show Men Behaving Badly suffered a cracked rib and a collapsed lung after an accident at home. In hospital she was given an epidural to help control the pain and was released after five days.
Just before she left hospital, however, Ms Ash noticed that a boil had appeared on her back and she mentioned this to one of the nurses. However, the nurse failed to pass this information on to the doctor and the boil was not examined.
Shortly after Ms Ash was discharged from hospital she began to lose all feeling in her lower limbs. She returned to hospital where she was given life-saving surgery on an infected abscess.
Whilst the surgery saved her life, Ms Ash was left with permanent nerve damage which has affected her sense of balance so that she is now unable to walk without the aid of a stick. She has had to undergo months of rehabilitation and has not been able to work.
Ms Ash brought an injury claim against the Chelsea and Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, seeking compensation for both past and future loss of earnings resulting from her illness. The NHS Trust admitted that the nurse's conduct had been a breach of duty and accepted that this would have worsened Ms Ash’s condition. However, the Trust argued that by that time some of her injuries were inevitable.
Eventually, an out of court settlement of £5m was agreed, which covers Ms Ash's loss of earnings as well as her care costs.