Pensioner’s life devastated by hospital nursing blunders

A pensioner who used to love to dance has been left a shadow of her former self after breaking a leg while in Tameside Hospital due to nursing blunders.

Margaret Rowbotham, 70, of Denton, fractured her right ankle in a tripping accident at home on 6th May 2012. However after being taken to Tameside Hospital for treatment her condition took a turn for the worse when 10 days later nursing errors caused her to suffer a severe fall and break her left leg in two places.

Before her ordeal Margaret, who has two sons and a daughter, loved dancing with her partner of 17 years Jack, 67, going to the shops and taking her grandchildren out. However she has now lost all of her independence and is afraid to even leave the house after her confidence was shattered by the injury and the distressing road to recovery that she faced.

Margaret and her family felt something had gone badly wrong with her care at Tameside and asked the specialist medical negligence team at law firm JMW to investigate. Margaret’s case was taken on by Melissa Gardner, a solicitor at JMW, who found that nursing staff had bungled moving Margaret on to a commode and failed to assist her properly causing her to fall badly and break her leg.

A case was brought against the hospital and Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust later admitted the errors. While Margaret will eventually receive compensation to help her to cope with her injury it cannot give her back what she has lost.

Ms Gardner commented: “This was an extremely distressing injury for Margaret, who continues to suffer the after effects almost two years on. As well as struggling to recover her mobility she has been left with psychological scars and she and her family are concerned that she may never return to the outgoing and independent woman that she once was.

“However all this was completely avoidable if basic failures in care had not been made. It is inexcusable for nursing staff not to follow the correct procedure when helping a frail and immobile patient to move and the consequences in this case have been devastating for Margaret.”

Margaret’s daughter Suzanne, a 49-year-old office manager who lives in London commented: “My mum has changed from an active woman with lots of friends who loved to go out to someone who is now scared to even hang the washing out. She will not even walk to the shops on her own and will only go with help from family, when she clings on for dear life. It’s very sad and upsetting to see as she has completely changed and the impact on her has been very serious.”

Margaret, a former psychiatric nursing assistant who also has sons Michael (38) who lives in Tameside and Colin (43) who lives in Middleton, as well as young grandchildren, commented: “I feel Tameside Hospital has taken away my dignity. I was an active person beforehand and I am now unable to walk unaided and have lost my confidence.

"I am depressed about what has happened to me and how much my life has changed and have experienced nightmares and flashbacks. I had retired shortly before all of this happened and was looking forward to spending time with my grandchildren and looking after them but this has been taken away from me.

“I have to rely on Jack and my family for help and care every day and cannot do any of things I used to enjoy, such as dancing as this is how Jack and I met. I find this extremely distressing.”

Following the hospital fall, Margaret’s leg was placed in a cast from the ankle all the way to the hip. With the other ankle also in plaster due to the tripping incident she had to be hoisted on and off of the bed and spent six weeks in the hospital’s trauma ward. When Margaret was discharged from hospital she was taken to a residential care home in Stalybridge where she spent six weeks.

Margaret was then taken to the Shire Hill Hospital in Glossop for a further four weeks as she was still not fit to return home. The hospital is several miles away from her partner Jack’s home in Higher Openshaw and he spent an hour-and-a-half travelling to see her each day.

Margaret found her recovery was very slow and when she returned home needed to use a zimmer frame as she was so unsteady and weak on her feet. She now no longer feels confident enough to go outside on her own and avoids leaving home as much as she can.


For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Hindle on the details below:

Kelly Hindle

D. 0161 828 1868


Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones.

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