The NHS was forced to pay £75,000 to a trainee nurse whose marriage broke down due to developing OCD after she was pricked by a needle at work. Alcinda Tobbal was jabbed with a dirty needle which was sticking out of an overfilled sharps bin located in an operating theatre whilst working as a nurse assistant at Whipps Cross Hospital in East London. She was also working towards being a fully qualified nurse by studying at night school.
Mrs Tobbal was given the all-clear after blood tests ruled out the HIV infection and hepatitis, but her distress and anxiety over the incident continued to increase. Her career was destroyed, as the 45-year-old went on to develop a case of obsessive compulsive disorder which the judge stated was “OCD at the severe end of the scale.”
Mrs Tobbal would wear gloves inside despite baking hot weather and scrub her children’s shoes with bleach whenever they had been outside. She was soon dismissed from her job due to the extreme effects of her OCD. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of her condition was that she could not kiss or make love to her husband due to her fear of ‘contamination.’ This led to the disintegration of their marriage, after he later dubbed her as “mental.”
Whipps Cross NHS Trust admitted primary liability for the incident, but disputed the extent of the compensation she deserved. Judge Bailey ruled that Mrs Tobbal ought to be compensated for her inability to work for the past five years and said that “The average person, armed with normal fortitude, would have been able to get on with his or her life, no doubt making a firm mental note to be more careful of the sharps bin. Unfortunately, Mrs Tobbal was unable to get on in this way. She suffered from what can only be described as an eggshell psychology.”
Mrs Tobbal has been awarded damage by a judge, including more than £20,000 for her pain and suffering, which takes into account the fact that her marriage broke down.
Making a claim if you’ve been injured at work
If you’ve been injured at work through no fault of your own, you could be due compensation, whether you were allocated a task for which you hadn’t been trained or you slipped or tripped at work. If your injuries required medical attention and happened in the last three years, give the specialists at Accident Advice Helpline a call.
You can either fill in the 30-second test online or drop someone a call on 0800 689 0500 from a landline or 0333 500 0993 from a mobile. The helpline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Whatever your injury, the team will give you advice on your claim.