West Suffolk Hospital fined £10k after patient jumps from window
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust has been fined £10,000 after a woman from Clare was seriously injured after she jumped from a hospital ward window.
The trust pleaded guilty at Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court to failure to manage and operate a hospital in such a way as to ensure the safety of persons not in their employment, namely the risk of injury or death from a fall from height from unrestricted windows.
Prosecuting on behalf of the Health and Safety Executive, Nicola Jaynes said 50-year-old Jane Bacon was admitted to a West Suffolk Hospital ward on September 22 last year.
Mrs Jaynes said Mrs Bacon had become agitated due to a flashing light in her room and thought she was being filmed.
She said: “She spent most of the night in her chair and the last time she was seen was 6am.
“She thought she was in danger and needed to escape.
“She used a chair to climb up and open a window and fell into bushes below.”
The window is 151cm from the floor.
Mrs Bacon sustained a broken shoulder, a broken rib, a fractured vertebrae, a collapsed lung and bruising and spent 13 days at Addenbrookes Hospital.
Mrs Jayne said although the trust had made efforts to make sure restrictors were placed on windows so people couldn’t accidentally fall out, they had not accounted fully for the situation of someone wanting to jump out.
In mitigation Iain Daniels said: “The trust simply didn’t appreciate the risk of patients going out of windows deliberately.”
The trust was fined £10,000, ordered to pay £1,420.30 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £15.
Mrs Bacon’s father Gordon Sadler said after the hearing: “It is very unfortunate - it shouldn’t have happened.
“She is still in pain and has to have further operations at Addenbrookes. It is important that they have accepted they are guilty and have put things right.
“It is a good hospital, it was just an unfortunate accident.”
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Wednesday 22 May 2013
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