A hospital worker who needed two operations on her shoulder after it was damaged whilst she was helping a 20-stone patient has received compensation after help from her trade union.

The 53-year-old, from Radford in Worcester has been left unable to lift heavy items with her left arm after the accident at Alcester Community Hospital in Warwickshire.

The technical instructor in physiotherapy and a colleague were helping the patient to lean on a pulpit frame as part of his rehabilitation. Without warning he flung himself backwards onto a chair. The sheer weight of the man meant the physiotherapy worker was catapulted with him and she landed on her arm.

Torn rotator cuff and bicep

She suffered a tear to the rotator cuff and bicep which needed two operations to repair. She has been told her shoulder is unlikely to improve. As a result she can no longer lift and can’t undertake certain functions of her work which involve using that arm.

In total she needed to take 17 months off work. She has been able to return to her job and she is now working out in the community with Warwickshire Primary Care Trust.

She said she is fortunate that the team she is working with understand the nature of her injuries and support her in her work.

Her injuries have also affected her home life. She is no longer able to take part in dog shows with her two prize winning dogs and finds it difficult doing some household tasks.

Thompsons Solicitors made claim for compensation

Following the accident she contacted her union, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) which instructed Thompsons Solicitors to investigate a claim for compensation.

Thompsons argued that Warwickshire PCT should have made sure that adequate staffing provisions were in place to move a patient of this size.

The patient’s care plan required two members of staff to be present but Thompsons argued that the number was clearly not enough.

The PCT admitted liability and settled the claim out of court for £25,000.

More members of staff were needed to help move a patient of this weight

The CSP member, who has worked for the PCT for 15 years, said: “The last three years have been long and painful but it all could have been avoided if this accident hadn’t been allowed to happen.

“Fortunately I’m now back at work and surrounded by a great team which takes into account my injury but there are many things I’m no longer able to do and I will have to put up with that the rest of my life.”

Jess Belmonte, National Officer at the CSP, said: “Care plans should be written to take into account each patient’s unique needs. It is clear that this care plan was flawed and that more members of staff were needed to help move a patient of this weight. As a result our member has suffered a painful injury which has had an impact on her home and work life.”

Yvonne Peel from Thompsons Solicitors said: “Manual handling risk assessments are an important health and safety procedure which can avoid accidents like this one from happening. Employers must take care to look at each scenario separately to ensure that any procedures put in place are fit for purpose.”