JMW sets record with claim

26/11/2013

Law firm JMW has secured the highest compensation settlement ever paid by an English hospital trust to a victim of cauda equina medical negligence. 

JMW obtained a settlement of £2.638 million* for a patient whose life has been wrecked by permanent cauda equina syndrome that was caused by catastrophic errors that were made by hospital staff. 

According to figures from the NHS Litigation Authority, which pays compensation awarded on medical negligence claims against hospitals, the sum is the highest it has ever paid to a victim of cauda equina syndrome medical negligence that was as a result of poor hospital care. The amount paid reflects the severity of the victim’s injuries and the life-long care requirements she has. 

The victim is a 50-year-old woman who has been left with debilitating pain and paralysis in her feet causing severe mobility problems after surgery she urgently needed was delayed by months. She also lost all sexual function and has permanent urinary incontinence and bowel dysfunction 

The delays she faced meant the window of opportunity to operate successfully and treat her cauda equina syndrome was missed causing permanent damage to the nerves at the base of her spine. She will require an adapted house, aids, equipment and specialist care to cope with daily life and her ability to work has been completely curtailed. 

Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW and a specialist cauda equina syndrome solicitor, commented: “This patient has had her life devastated by some quite appalling errors that were made. Sadly it is not an isolated example and we continue to see the same mistakes being made by medical professionals who either do not appreciate the seriousness of the symptoms that the patient presents with or fail to ensure they receive the treatment they urgently need.

“Often the errors are quite basic and the tragedy is that things could have been so different for the many victims we are representing. However as specialists in this area of law I am delighted that we have been able to secure such a substantial sum on this recent case so that the victim can access the care, equipment and aids that she will require for the rest of her life.”

Cauda equina syndrome (CES) is caused by pressure being placed on the cauda equina nerves at the base of the spine, frequently by a slipped disc. These nerves control sensation in the lower part of the body as well as bowel and bladder function.

When the ‘red flag signs’ strike in a patient who has suffered back pain they require urgent hospital admission and surgery within 24-48 hours to relieve the pressure. Red flag signs include urinary and bowel dysfunction (including loss of sensation) and altered sensation in the saddle and perianal area. If surgery is not done in time then irreversible damage can be caused. 

JMW is currently representing numerous patients whose red flag signs have been missed by medical professionals. Other common failures include not referring them for urgent scans and appalling delays in getting the surgery they urgently needed. 

Ends

*This figure does not include claims against GPs

For more information or to arrange an interview:

Kelly Livesey

D. 0161 828 1868

E. Kelly.livesey@jmw.co.uk



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