operating theatre

NHS fined after Nurse develops OCD following needle incident

A trainee nurse from east London has been awarded compensation after she developed a severe form of obsessive compulsive disorder, after being jabbed with a dirty needle whilst working at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London.

What happened?

The 45-year-old was working as a nursing assistant at the London hospital, when she was accidentally pricked in the finger by a dirty needle sticking out of an over-filled bin in an operating theatre.

She was cleared of hepatitis and HIV infection, but developed a severe case of OCD after the incident, and was unable to return to work.

After becoming obsessed with cleanliness, she felt unable to leave her home, and started preventing her children from going out, except to go to school, scrubbing their shoes with bleach when they returned.

Her OCD also lead to the breakdown of her marriage after her condition left her unable to have any physical intimacy with her husband.

What was the outcome?

At Central London County Court, Whipps Cross NHS admitted primary liability and its severe consequences for the nurse, but disputed the amount of compensation she deserved.

However, Judge Edward Bailey held that the nurse ought to be compensated for her incapability to work for five years. She was awarded damages for five years of pain, suffering and loss of earning totaling a large sum of


Judge Bailey said:

“I am quite satisfied that her continued absence from work
after her accident was as a result of the injury she
received and her – albeit excessive –
psychological reaction to it.”

“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.”

If you have been affected by an accident at work, and you would like expert advice, contact Hampson Hughes Solicitors today on 0800 888 6888 or email

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