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Case Study: Errors Lead to Serious Nerve Damage
Blythe, 43 years old, Manchester
With JMW's help a woman has won £13,500 compensation after a series of errors from medical professionals led to serious nerve damage.
Blythe was referred by her GP to hospital complaining of pain in her right hip and side. She underwent physiotherapy for two months, but was unfortunately discharged with no improvement having been obtained.
Blythe was seen in clinic where she received an injection to the anterior superior iliac spine. She was reviewed and it was noted that there had been some improvement from the injection, a further injection was administered.
Doctor letter error
She was seen again in clinic and although she had had some relief from the injections, she was still in pain. She was therefore listed for surgery to release her lateral cutaneous nerve. Inadvertently, this was referred to as the "left" rather than the "right" in the doctor's letter to Blythe's GP.
She was then admitted to hospital and by this time, she had taken all reasonable steps to minimise any symptoms from her right side by avoiding any pressure on it. At the time of her admission, she had been symptom-free for some time.
She was consented for "release of lateral cutaneous nerve of the left side". She subsequently underwent the operation, as detailed in the consent form, whereas all her symptoms had been referable to the right side. In the post-operative period, Blythe was forced to lie on her right side following the operation on her left, which resulted in a recurrence of her previous symptoms.
But the pain continued. In her right thigh she has had the same symptoms that existed prior to the operation. In her left leg, she now experiences electric shocks on her outer left thigh.
Consequences of negligence
JMW Solicitors alleged that the hospital was negligent in proceeding to operate on the left rather than the right lateral cutaneous nerve. As a consequence of this, Blythe has suffered continuing pain and discomfort, and also additional scarring. Blythe was also reluctant to proceed with further surgery on her right side for fear of a similar outcome to what has occurred on the left.
An independent medical expert concluded that if she were to undergo the same operation on the right side now the chances of relief or significant improvement reduce because of nerve damage. Physiotherapy would not bring any improvement. In relation to the continuing symptoms with her left leg, no further surgery would assist, nor could anything further be done medically. The numbness, burnt skin feeling, hypersensitivity and sharp intermittent pains would all be permanent.
The claim was settled for £13,500.