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£2,000 compensation for nurse’s needlestick injury

Bartletts personal injury solicitors in Wrexham recently helped an experienced staff nurse recover £2,000 compensation for anxiety caused as a result of being scratched by a hypodermic needle whilst at work. The 40-year nurse had been scratched on the leg by the hypodermic needle that was sticking out of a refuse bag which she moved whilst on ward duty.

Nurses are regularly exposed to many hazards at work and are acutely aware of the risks of contamination and injury from medical instruments. They are trained to dispose of dangerous implements such as used hypodermic needles in a specific ‘sharps’ box, which allows them to be safely transported out of the hospital.

In this case someone had failed to dispose of the needles safely. The hospital quickly admitted there had been a procedural failure and as an employer they were vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. This subsequently led to a breach of their duty of care towards the injured nurse.

After the accident the nurse, who had been working at the hospital for over 10 years, had blood tests to test for HIV and was given a hepatitis booster injection. As per normal practice, she then had to wait for six months for the tests to be repeated before she could be given the all clear.

It was during this period of uncertainty that the nurse came to see a specialist personal injury solicitor who was able to reassure her and offer advice on a personal injury claim.  The nurse, who had two young children, was suffering from anxiety and stress as a result of waiting for the result of her tests.

Our lawyer recognised that the second set of tests was overdue and she should have been recalled by the hospital. As the prolonged waiting time was causing extra stress, our solicitors arranged for expedited blood tests to be carried out at a private hospital, which finally put the nurse’s fears to rest when she was told she was not infected.

Bartletts successfully recovered the costs of the private tests and a settlement of £2,000 in compensation for temporary anxiety on her behalf.