Ambulance Worker Awarded £280,000 After Exposure to Carbon Monoxide

A woman whose exposure to toxic gas at work caused her to suffer psychiatric injury has succeeded in her claim for compensation at the High Court.

Diane Kennedy had worked as a solo responder for the London Ambulance Service (LAS) for ten years when in 2011 she was given a vehicle to use that was not fit for purpose.

Ms Kennedy had arrived at the LAS depot for a night shift and was told that the only car available for her to use was a Vauxhall Astra that had required jump starting on several occasions. She had notified her employer of her concerns regarding the vehicle a number of times, but nothing was done. She carried on with her shift not realising that there was a fault in the exhaust system which resulted in carbon monoxide gas seeping into the driver's compartment.

She worked for nine hours until, feeling dizzy and nauseous, she went to Accident and Emergency where she was diagnosed with carbon monoxide poisoning. The incident, involving as it did a potentially fatal threat to her health, caused her psychological injury and she was subsequently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Eventually, in 2015, she was forced to give up her job and she continues to suffer from PTSD.

LAS NHS Trust admitted liability for Ms Kennedy's exposure to carbon monoxide but disputed that this was the cause of her psychiatric condition. She persevered with her claim, however; the High Court judge subsequently found in her favour and ordered that compensation of £280,000 be paid.

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