King’s College Hospital has become the first hospital to be fined for false imprisonment after a woman was kept in its ward against her family’s wishes for four months.
In 2011, Christina Esegbona died in a nursing home in Harrow, aged 67, after spending four months at King’s. Her family wanted her to be discharged home so she could be cared for by her medically qualified children, but the hospital refused.
She later died from a cardiac arrest in the home after the tube she needed to breathe came out, after the trust did not adequately inform the home of the risk of this happening.
A spokesperson for the trust said: “On this occasion, we felt it was in the best interests of the patient to remain in our care until a suitable care package could be identified.
“We do accept that correct procedural steps were not followed for her continuing stay at the hospital.
“Since this happened in 2011, we have put robust procedures in place to avoid similar situations from occurring. We apologise to the family for any distress caused.”
The court fined the trust £15,470 for false imprisonment, £3,500 for the pain and suffering, and a further £5,000 in damages.