Nurse awarded £500,000 payout after injury at work

West London NHS Trust admits nurse sustained back injury due to defective chair

West London NHS Trust admits nurse sustained back injury due to defective chair

A nurse who was left with chronic pain after a chair collapsed under him at work has been awarded a £500,000 payout.

Staff nurse Eric Nartey has been awarded a £500,000 payout following an injury at work
Eric Nartey was injured at work when a
defective chair collapsed underneath him
Picture: Champion News

Staff nurse Eric Nartey was working a night shift at St Bernard’s Hospital in London in 2013 when he sat down for a rest on a ‘defective’ chair, which collapsed and tipped him onto the floor.

He sustained what at first appeared to be a relatively minor back injury, but subsequently developed chronic pain syndrome, which means he cannot work and uses a wheeled walking frame.

Nurse collapsed during civil trial

NHS lawyers had accused Mr Nartey of exaggerating his condition, but a civil trial at Central London County Court was settled early after West London NHS Trust admitted liability.

During the trial, Mr Nartey collapsed, tumbling down a short flight of steps as his legs gave way when he tried to stand in the witness box.

The two-day trial heard how in March 2013, Mr Nartey was sitting on an adjustable-seat hydraulic chair at the nurses’ station when the seat of the chair ‘suddenly dropped to the lowest setting’.

‘The chair sort of collapsed,’ Mr Nartey said. ‘It dropped down. I panicked and tried to grab onto a desk but my hand slid off it and I ended up landing on my sacral area. I slid off the chair halfway down.’

Pain became unbearable and symptoms worsened

He said the pain became unbearable and he went home early from work that day. The next day, he visited his GP and was prescribed painkillers, but he said his symptoms gradually became worse, with pain and numbness spreading from his lower back into his legs.

David Callow, representing West London NHS Trust, accepted Mr Nartey’s account of the accident. ‘The chair had a defect which caused it to give way,’ he told judge Heather Baucher.

‘Mr Nartey fell to the floor. Liability is admitted. It is admitted that Mr Nartey likely suffered some loss as a result of the fall.’

Mr Nartey’s barrister, Nicholas Braslavsky QC, said his client was a hard-working man who had only taken a single day off from his previous job as a postman following a car accident.

Following the case, a West London NHS Trust spokesperson said: ‘The safety of our staff is a critical issue for the trust, which is why all our staff undergo mandatory health and safety training, with the relevant policies in place. 

'We are reviewing the findings from Mr Nartey’s case and will incorporate any changes that need to be made.’

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