Leslie Ash awarded £5 million after hospital debacle

Leslie Ash WheelchairFrom: The Times Online 17/01/08 

“Leslie Ash, the actress who contracted an infection similar to MRSA in hospital, has been awarded a record-breaking compensation package after suffering years of paralysis in her lower body.

The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital agreed yesterday to pay Ms Ash £5 million for the “shortcomings in her care” while she was a patient.”

I have to ashamedly admit that this latest saga affecting Leslie Ash has entirely passed me by. In fact, the last I’d heard of her hitting the headlines was after her infamous collagen lip implants back in 2002. Where have I been for the last 3 ½ years? Actually, don’t answer that. Still, the £5 M pay-out she received makes it noteworthy enough for inclusion on Law Actually.

The sorry sequence of events in her latest misfortune makes rather depressing reading:

“In April 2004 she was admitted to hospital with a punctured lung and two fractured ribs after falling out of bed while making love. At the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital her lung was drained. When she was ready to leave she noticed what looked like a boil between her shoulderblades.

— She was discharged but began to feel sick and suffer pounding headaches. She woke up one morning unable to move her legs

— Doctors discovered an abscess on her spinal column. They cut through two vertebrae to reach it and stop the infection spreading

— She was left with chronic paresthesia caused by nerve damage to her spinal column. She could not feel or move her legs Hours of physiotherapy have allowed her to walk, although she still uses a walking stick”.

The report was quick to quell the optimism of potential litigants in the sum awarded. "Lawyers said, however, that people who had similarly suffered from hospital-acquired infections should not get their hopes up. Claire Fazan, a leading clinical negligence lawyer with Leigh Day solicitors, said: “Whereas the award may sound high, it will reflect the injuries of the actress and in particular her past and future needs and losses, including her earnings".


  1. I too, missed this story and the presence of Leslie Ash (well, I say 'miss', I mean hadn't been aware of) until the court decision.

    However, I really feel that I missed something. As now I can't get past the first sentence of the 'history of events':
    “In April 2004 she was admitted to hospital with a punctured lung and two fractured ribs after falling out of bed while making love."

    That alone can generate a hell of a lot of discussion...

  2. ... Apparently falling out of bed during the course of a particularly enthusiastic bonking session was the excuse proffered to prevent the police investigating her husband as to possible GBH.
    How on EARTH did a zit between her shoulder blades turn into a spinal abcess?! C & W must be a Positively Yuksome hospital to be ill in.....

  3. It seems like whenever you go into a hospital, you cannot be sure whether you'll come out or not. Like in a horror film! :o

  4. Hospital-acquired contagions account for about one half of all hospital complications. Therefore, we are dealing with a problem on a massive scale.

    There are two basic pieces to learning the cause and control of this dilemma: (1) It is the nature of the beast - infected people go to hospitals because that is where they need to be. (2) Human behavior plays the largest role in the spread of infectious organisms.

    There are identifiable standards of care to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in hospitals and to prevent infections of various parts of the body arising from sloppy technique. This is an area of provable negligence that often goes unnoticed.


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