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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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Prior to her death my 86 year old mother with renal

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Prior to her death my 86 year old mother with chronic renal failure was ambulanced to Darent Valley Hospital suffering nausea and blood pressure problems. Whilst in A&E she vomited and her lower denture came out. This was recovered, wrapped in tissue, and placed on her bedside table while she was stabilized. A nurse subsequently cleared the tissue from the table and discarded it to a bin while she was resting. This loss restricted what my mother was able to eat.
I therefore found the dentist who had made her dentures and paid for a replacement set. They were fitted a few weeks before she passed away. I have made representations to the hospital regarding compensation for the cost of the new dentures. They have responded however that they have a disclaimer disowning any responsibility for patient property.
Can you say whether I would have grounds to sucessfully press a claim against the hospital for compensation?

In my opinion contractually, if a form was signed by you or your mother or someone else on her behalf when she was admitted that said the hospitals liability is excluded for loss or damage to patients property, then it could be difficult to get away from this.

If no form or document was signed to this effect and the exclusion was not brought to your attention, then there is a good ground for claiming that the hospital did not exclude liability as no notice of the exclusion was given.

On the other hand, you may argue that the nurse was negligent and should have checked what was in the tissue before throwing it away, and is therefore liable in tort.
However, if it was reasonable in the circumstances for her to throw away the tissue containing the dentures, then the hospital was not negligent and would be excused.

I would certainly press the hospital for compensation but if they refuse, you would need to go to court to get an order or judgement against the hospital and the final decision would be with the court.

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