A British hospital will pay a 64-year-old woman roughly $100,428 for cutting the arms of a doll the woman believed was her own baby.
Susan Hearsey, who has a severe learning disability, was admitted to Walsall Manor Hospital in 2013 after she suffered a fall. Her family alleges that, during her stay, the staff did not provide Hearsey with adequate care; they did not supervise her properly, lacked an understanding of her disability and did not wash her adequately, according to the Mirror.
Hearsey's doll was found with severed arms, damaged legs, missing clothes, and a missing chunk of hair. According to Jane Dunn, Hearsey’s sister, a nurse damaged the doll because Hearsey was not following directions.
“Susan, a vulnerable patient with a severe learning disability, loved her baby doll as though it was her own child and she may never recover from the cruelty she suffered while at the Walsall Manor Hospital,” said Merry Varney, a human rights expert who represented the family.
Dunn said that this incident has had a “devastating effect” on Hearsey. According to Varney, the money from Walsall will go towards the equipment and therapy that Hearsey now needs as a result of her trauma.
“After facing denials from the hospital and only an offer to replace the doll, achieving financial compensation and an independent investigation finally brings her some justice,” said Varney. “This case underlines the important protections afforded by our Human Rights Act, which we relied upon to argue for these wider outcomes for Susan.”
In addition to the payout, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust has issued the family a formal apology and agreed to an independent investigation, reports Express and Star.
“We are very sorry that this incident occurred and would like to apologize to Ms. Hearsey and her family,” said Richard Kirby, chief executive of Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust. Kirby added that the hospital has since conducted an internal investigation that they have shared with Hearsey’s family to “ensure that this would not happen again.”
Hearsey’s family hopes that she will eventually recover from her ordeal, while the international mental health battle rages on.