Hospital Sued by Former Operating Theatre Technician

A WOMAN who worked at a private hospital is suing her former employer for £100,000 amid claims her job caused a repetitive strain injury.


Patricia Digby, 52, of Eastwood Road North, Leigh, was a technician in the theatre sterile services unit of Spire Wellesley Hospital in Eastern Avenue, Southend.

She claims repetitive work of wrapping and sealing trays of surgical equipment around 320 times a day has left her with tendonitis, a dislocated tendon, pains in her right hand and wrist and depression due to the impact on her life.

In a claim to Southend County Court, Mrs Digby has accused her employer of breaches of statutory duty and negligence.

Spire Wellesley Hospital
Spire Wellesley Hospital

The claim said within three months of starting the job in June 2010, she began wearing a support bandage and taking painkillers due to the pain.

The form said she had to place each tray on a trolley in a wrapping room which was too low for her and could not be adjusted.

She had to seal trays with between six and four pieces of tape.

The claim said: "The dispenser for the tape was located on the desk behind her. As a result the claimant had to twist around behind her to take a length of the tape with her right hand.,"

It said she could not use her left hand which was holding a sterile drape on the trays and had to use a vigorous motion and ensure the tape dispensers did not move.

By March 2011, her pain had worsened and she went to Southend Hospital A&E where an MRI scan showed the tendonitis. She had physiotherapy for four months, but things did not improve and she had an operation in December 2011.

A dislocated tendon was later diagnosed.

She had a further operation in September 2012, and a third in January 2013.

The claim said her pain continues and she is no longer able to do the job.

It added: "She needs help with hovering, handling heavy bags and twohanded tasks. She is unable to garden and walk both her dogs simultaneously."

She claims the hospital was negligent by not providing satisfactory equipment or doing health and safety assessments on the work.

The hospital has admitted partial liability and negligence leading to the injuries.

However, it claims Mrs Digby was also negligent by failing to declare on a pre-employment questionnaire she had received surgery to both wrists for carpel tunnel syndrome, which would have prompted it to risk assess the work, failing to use the trolley provided and failed to take care of her own safety.

It would not comment on the case for "legal reasons".


Clacton and Frinton Gazette



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