Pensioner suffers fatal injuries after falling through first-floor window…
Walsall Hospital NHS Trust has been fined over £100,000 in fines and costs after the death of a pensioner who fell through a first-floor window at Walsall Manor Hospital.
The 71-year-old victim suffered multiple serious injuries in the accident which occurred on 18 January 2009 after he had been initially admitted to the hospital as a result of a minor stroke. During the night of the accident he disconnected himself from his drip and used a stool to climb onto a table in order to open a window. However he fell out of the window and died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the fall which included a collapsed lung, a fractured pelvis and some fractures to his ribs.
The HSE decided to prosecute Walsall NHS trust after an investigation discovered that the hospital had failed to install a restrictor on the window which would have limited how far the window could have opened. The HSE also criticised the lack of a risk assessment despite a warning from the Department of Health issued to all hospitals in 2007 informing them of the dangers of accidents just like this occurring in hospital wards across the UK.
The Trust, pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 3(1)(b) of the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 and was fined £80,000 and ordered to pay £26,917 in costs.
HSE inspector Eve-Marie Edwards spoke after the hearing:.
“The trust should have known about the risk to patients of falling from windows. However, despite clear guidance, it failed carry out an effective risk assessment.
“Hospitals must ensure that they have properly assessed the risk to patients of falls from accessible windows that can be opened more than ten centimetres.
“It is essential that all such windows on assessment wards are properly restricted due to the range of patients admitted, some of whom may be very vulnerable.”
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