Haverhill head injury victim sues East of England Ambulance Service for negligence
A Haverhill man who was said to have drunk alcohol celebrating the New Year in January 2018 and left brain damaged after he fell over on his way home has launched a High Court damages claim or over £200,000 against East of England Ambulance Service accusing them of negligence.
Glen Guinivan, 46, and his wife Helen had been celebrating at their local pub in Haverhill, but a writ issued at the court in London and recently made public says he fell over in the street, fracturing his skull and knocking himself out.
The papers claim that if he had been taken to hospital sooner, he would have had surgery and would have less extensive brain damage.
However, it is alleged that delays in getting him to hospital meant he did not have surgery for more than ten hours after the accident, and suffered severe brain injury meaning he will be dependent on others for the rest of his life.
The papers say that the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) has admitted negligence in failing to take him to hospital for urgent assessment and treatment.
The claim form indicates that the overall value of the claim is expected to be well in excess of £200,000 but the two sides are believed to be unable to agree how much compensation delivery driver, Mr Guinivan, should receive.
He is said to suffer from severe cognitive impairment, lack of insight into risk, severe communication difficulties, behavioural change, and weakness of his right arm and leg.
The papers say that before the accident he was sociable but now he avoids friends.
Mr Guinivan is a protected person, who sues through his wife Helen.
He will need constant supervision for the rest of his life and cannot manage his own affairs. He will never be able to work again.
After the fall on January 1 a rapid response vehicle arrived with a second-year student paramedic, who helped the couple walk home the papers say.
No ambulance arrived, and during the night Mrs Guinivan found her husband vomiting and choking, cleaned him up twice, and found him unresponsive in the morning.
An emergency ambulance was called and he was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital.
He had a fractured skull, brain haemorrhages and other problems.
He underwent decompression of his fractured skull and removal of blood clots on January 1, followed by a second operation later that day, and spent ten days in critical care before moving onto a ward.
He spent two months in hospital before going to a rehabilitation unit, had a titanium plate put in his skull and was then treated at a rehabilitation unit in Ely until April 2019, when he returned home.
His lawyers accuse the Trust of negligence, saying it failed to send a crewed ambulance as well as the rapid response vehicle, failed to assess his condition properly although he had a known head injury and loss of consciousness, and failed to rush him to hospital.
The papers say they will rely on the Trust’s admission of breach of duty in that he was “not assessed adequately in respect of his head injury and that he should have been conveyed to hospital.”
Although he had fractured his skull in the fall, swelling led to pressure on his brain and this exacerbated his injuries, coupled with a delay in treatment, the writ says.
His claim for damages includes the cost of nursing care, therapies, medical expenses, accommodation, household expenses, aids and appliances, assistive technology, travel, transport and holiday costs, leisure costs, loss of earnings, and case management costs.
A spokesman for EEAST said: “We can confirm we are aware of this claim.
"As legal action is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”