Hospital Worker’s Claim Against HSE Settled in Court

A hospital worker who sustained a lasting ankle injury has won their claim for compensation for accident at work against the HSE.

In November 2012, Ann Groves (58) was walking at the back of the Baltinglass Hospital, where she worked as an assistant in the kitchens. As she was walking, she slipped on some wet leaves and fell to the ground, injuring her ankle. After applying an icepack to the wound, she visited her GP, who diagnosed her with a soft tissue injury. He bandaged the area, and Ann went on her way.

Ann was unable to sleep, walk, or stand for long periods following the incident. Eventually, Ann sought further medical attention from a number of different specialists. She attended physiotherapy and acupuncture sessions, which offered limited relief. Eventually, she underwent surgery to have a spinal cord stimulant surgically implanted in 2014. Although this did help Ann with the pain, she still suffered complications from the injury.

Ann sought legal counsel, and made a claim for slipping on wet leaves at work against her employer-the Health Service Executive (HSE). The defendants denied any fault for Ann’s injury, claiming that they had a rigorous cleaning system in place. They stated that Ann had been the sole contributor to her accident, and that the injury was entirely her fault.

Ann sought authorisation from the Injuries Board to pursue her claim in court, which was granted after no agreement of liability could be made between the two parties. Judge Barry Hickson of the Circuit Civil Courts heard the claim early this month. The judge was informed of Ann’s circumstances, and of the continual discomfort that she still endures. The judge was further informed that the day on which the accident occurred was a Monday, following a particularly stormy weekend. A maintenance engineer testified that the maintenance team at the hospital started work after the kitchen staff, and thus the path had not been cleared for use.

After hearing the evidence, Judge Hickson found in Ann’s favour, and dismissed the HSE’s claim of contributory negligence following the engineer’s statement. Ann was awarded €25,879 in compensation for her injuries.