Error in routine biopsy causes permanently restricted arm movement - £175,000

‘Robert’, 67

Bryony Doyle, a specialist medical negligence solicitor at JMW, represented ‘Robert’ in a legal battle following the negligent removal of a nerve in his neck. The error led to Robert requiring nerve graft surgery and intensive physiotherapy as he lost movement in his right arm. Bryony helped Robert to challenge the hospital’s failures and was successful in obtaining £175,000 in compensation for him.

Error in carrying out a biopsy

Robert developed a painless lump in his neck. It was recommended that part of the lump was removed through a biopsy and tested to check for cancer. Thankfully Robert did not have cancer. However, after the lump was removed, Robert, who is right-handed, found that he was unable to move his right arm and hand.

It was discovered that the surgeon had cut the brachial plexus nerve (a network of nerves that sends signals from the spinal cord to the shoulder, arm and hand). Instead of performing a simple biopsy, the surgeon had removed the whole lump and part of the nerve in Robert’s neck which affected the movement in his arm. This led to a host of avoidable problems and Robert needed several operations, including nerve graft surgery.

Robert also needed intensive physiotherapy treatment, and although he has slowly restored useful function to his arm, he will always have permanent restriction of movement. Sadly, this means that Robert can no longer take part in some of his hobbies such as gardening and swimming, and is unable to drive a manual car. As Robert is right handed, he has also had to adapt to using his left arm to perform tasks he would usually do with his right.

Successful medical negligence claim

Robert was put in touch with JMW and his case was taken on by the specialist medical negligence team who were able to secure an admission of negligence from the hospital trust.

The trust carried out a full investigation and fully admitted liability, agreeing that Robert’s nerve injury was caused by the error and should have been avoided. Bryony was able to successfully negotiate with the trust who agreed to pay Robert £175,000 in compensation for his pain, suffering and prolonged recovery.

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