Passenger left with stress disorder after bus ordeal wins £522,000 payout

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AN exhibitions manager at the Natural History Museum who had to leave her job when she developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after she was trapped on a bus has won £522,379 damages.

Ceri Leigh, 50, claimed that her psychiatric damage was caused by the delay in an ambulance arriving after she dislocated her right kneecap and was unable to move from between the seats of the bus she had boarded at Wimbledon station, in November 2008.

Mrs Leigh said she could not sit or stand and was screaming in agony for 50 minutes while well-meaning passengers tried to help by stopping her from moving .

Every additional minute added to the trauma of her experience until she felt “utter despair”, said Mr Justice Globe at London’s High Court yesterday.

Mrs Leigh said she felt trapped, was shaking violently and became unable to hold her mind together.

She did not recover full function in the knee for about 18 months and became housebound, suffering flashbacks, nightmares and a high level of anxiety and depression. She also began to suffer dissociative seizures.

In February 2011, she was medically retired from the job she was said to love and she said financial pressures drove her and her husband to move to South Wales.

London Ambulance Service NHS Trust admitted there was a negligent delay of 17 minutes in the ambulance arriving but disputed the link with Mrs Leigh’s psychiatric problems and the amount of damages.

Their lawyers said that, during 2010 and 2011, she had other stresses including problems with marital communications, worry about whether her husband would be made redundant, financial problems, her son’s trans-gender issues, her daughter’s issues about her adoption and the pressures of litigation.

The judge, who witnessed a seizure when Mrs Leigh gave evidence by video-link so as to save her travelling, said the had delay made a “material contribution” to the development of her PTSD.

He said he was satisfied that the seizures were all part of the PTSD and consequent upon it and were not related to other stresses in her life.

The judge said he had no hesitation in accepting that Mrs Leigh’s injury was severe as all aspects of her life were badly affected and additional therapy was expected to make only a minimal improvement.

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