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Ambulance worker Diane Kennedy from Eccles sues NHS after being poisoned by car fumes

By Jodie Nesling

An ambulance worker plunged into despair after breathing in poisonous gas in a clapped-out NHS car has won almost £280,000 in damages.

Diane Kennedy from Eccles arrived for a night shift in April 2011 but all that was available to drive was a Vauxhall Astra that had to be started with jump leads.

There was a fault in the exhaust system and, over the next nine hours, carbon monoxide leaked into the car's interior.

Diane Kennedy suffered from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Stock picture
Diane Kennedy suffered from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. Stock picture

The mum-of-three, then aged 38, from Eccles, was so badly poisoned she had to be given oxygen and treated in hospital.

She has suffered from severe post traumatic stress disorder ever since and her career as an ambulance solo responder was ruined.

The London Ambulance Service NHS Trust admitted blame and was today ordered to fully compensate Mrs Kennedy for her suffering.

Judge Peter Hughes QC said the incident had left her suffering from "a significant and genuine psychiatric illness."

She had been unable to control her "frustration and anger" in the witness box and was "shaking uncontrollably" at times, he added.

Air pollution fears
Air pollution fears

Her inability to control her temper had also in the past led to angry outbursts on a plane and in a GP's waiting room, the court heard.

The trust insisted that she had a "vulnerable personality" and that not all her problems could be blamed on the faulty car.

But the judge ruled that the gas poisoning incident was the "breaking point" and "the straw that broke the camel's back".

The trust had admitted liability and had to take its victim as it found her, he added.

Although she struggled to get back to work, her employment was terminated in 2014 and she has not worked since, the court heard.

The judge awarded Mrs Kennedy £279,998 in damages, including £28,000 for the pain and suffering she endured.

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