Scientist Brain Damaged After Ambulance's 102 Minute Wait
Tuesday 17th June 2014
A genetic scientist from North London who was left brain damaged after waiting more than 100 minutes for an ambulance has been awarded a compensation package worth £5 million.
Caren Paterson collapsed in the bedroom of her flat in Islington nearly seven years ago. Her boyfriend rang 999 reporting that she was unconscious, breathing abnormally and her lips had turned blue.
However emergency crews were told to wait until a police escort was available because the property on Hargrave Road was on the 'high risk' register.
As there were no police available the emergency medical team waited for more than an hour just 100 metres away.
The 36 year old eventually suffered a cardiac arrest, five minutes before police and an ambulance team arrived.
The delay has left her with chronic amnesia, confusion and disorientation. It means she will never work again and will need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.
Today, Judge Richard Parkes QC approved a settlement against London Ambulance Service NHS Trust consisting of a £1.4 million lump sum plus lifelong annual payments.
He also paid tribute to Caren's mother, Eleanor Paterson, who was at London's High Court for the hearing.
Afterwards, Mrs Paterson said: "My daughter was a successful and ambitious scientist but it is so distressing that all of her aspirations and ambitions have been taken away from her because of her brain injury.
"I was determined to ensure Caren had access to the best possible care and support for the rest of her life and it is such a huge relief that the settlement has been approved today.
"Clearly we would rather not be in this situation at all and nothing will ever return our daughter to how she was before. But it is a weight off our minds to know that she will now be able to continue to receive the care, treatment and specialist attention that she needs.
"The thought of an ambulance crew sitting waiting round the corner while my daughter lay in her flat as her condition went from serious to life-threatening, causing irreparable damage to her brain, is still shocking and I hope no-one ever has to go through what we have."
Philip Havers QC, for the trust, expressed its "sincere apologies" to the family. He said the trust hoped and believed that the damages would go a long way to providing for Ms Paterson's needs in the future.
Caren is currently receiving specialist rehabilitation treatment at a unit in North Yorkshire. It is hoped that eventually she can live in her own home with a team of carers.