£5m payout for brain damaged Archway woman made to wait 100 minutes for ambulance

14:32 17 June 2014

Caren Paterson  (Picture: Irwin Mitchell)

Caren Paterson (Picture: Irwin Mitchell)


An Archway woman left brain damaged after having to wait more than 100 minutes for an ambulance has been awarded a compensation package worth £5million.

When Caren Paterson collapsed in the bedroom of her flat in Hargrave Road, in October 2007, her boyfriend called 999 reporting that she was unconscious, breathing abnormally and her lips had turned blue.

But because her address was inexplicably flagged as being on the “high risk” register, the ambulance crew was told to wait for a police escort, law firm Irwin Mitchell said.

There were no police available at the time and, despite two more 999 calls, the emergency medical team waited for over an hour just 100 metres from the flat.

Ms Paterson eventually suffered a cardiac arrest, five minutes before police and an ambulance team arrived.

The delay has left the 36-year-old, who was working as a genetic scientist at King’s College, with chronic amnesia, confusion and disorientation with the result she will never work again and need 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Today, Judge Richard Parkes QC approved a settlement against London Ambulance Service NHS Trust consisting of a £1.4m lump sum plus lifelong annual payments.

He paid tribute to the support and devotion of Caren’s mother, Eleanor Paterson, from Warkworth, Northumberland, who was at London’s High Court for the hearing.

Afterwards, Mrs Paterson said: “My daughter was a successful and ambitious scientist but it is so distressing that all of her aspirations and ambitions have been taken away from her because of her brain injury.

“I was determined to ensure Caren had access to the best possible care and support for the rest of her life and it is such a huge relief that the settlement has been approved today.

“Clearly we would rather not be in this situation at all and nothing will ever return our daughter to how she was before. But it is a weight off our minds to know that she will now be able to continue to receive the care, treatment and specialist attention that she needs.

“The thought of an ambulance crew sitting waiting round the corner while my daughter lay in her flat as her condition went from serious to life-threatening, causing irreparable damage to her brain, is still shocking and I hope no-one ever has to go through what we have.”

Philip Havers QC, for the trust, expressed its “sincere apologies” to the family for the shortcomings which had occurred and said it hoped and believed that the damages would go a long way to providing for Ms Paterson’s needs in the future.

And after the hearing, the trust’s deputy director of operations Katy Millard repeated the organisation’s apologies and said “significant changes” had been made to the register over the last seven years.

“Of the three million households in London, there are now only around 600 addresses on the register,” she said.

“Now, our crews assess each situation themselves when they get to the scene and will only ever delay treatment if they believe they are in danger.”

Lawyer John Davis, of Irwin Mitchell, said Ms Paterson was currently receiving care at a specialist unit but it was hoped eventually she might live in her own home with a team of well-trained brain injury carers.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 17:33
Police believe these two men could help with investigations

Police have released images of two men they would like to speak to as part of an investigation into a sexual assault in Old Street.

Yesterday, 17:04
The group left the train at Highbury and Islington.

A “good Samaritan” was left needing hospital treatment after he was attacked while trying to stop a woman from being sexually assaulted on

Yesterday, 14:30
Sarah Dunant (L), artist and refugee Neda with her artwork, and actress Juliet Stevenson (R)

The Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants is urgently appealing for more donations in the run-up to Christmas in order to stay open for an extra day each week.

Yesterday, 11:30
Ligia Stan and Petre Craciun with the Hummingbird

With rising transport costs, increasing numbers of people are choosing to cycle to work these days. But many are still put off by the risk of having their bike stolen, as well as the thought of lugging it on public transport for part of the journey.

Yesterday, 09:30
The man police want to identify for attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque

This is the man police want to identify after an attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque on Friday.

Yesterday, 07:00
Cllr Richard Watts

The leader of Islington Council wants “lively discussion” at a Question Time-style public meeting tomorrow.

Sunday, November 29, 2015
Police want to talk to this man over an attempted arson at Finsbury Park Mosque

Police are hunting a moped rider suspected of trying to set Finsbury Park Mosque on fire in what is being treated as a “hate crime”.

Saturday, November 28, 2015
Fergus conducting the English National Opera. Picture: Tom Bowles/English National Opera

Anyone can enjoy opera. Shrewsbury Town FC is proof of that.

Most read news


Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Islington Gazette e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder