Case Study: Sciatic Nerve Damage After Being Left in One Position After Surgery

Compensation: £400,000

A young woman has obtained a £400,000 settlement after negligent post-surgery care resulted in sciatic nerve damage.

Laura was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. After 3 years of medical treatment, she underwent a colectomy as her symptoms were not being controlled.

Negligence after surgery

After surgery, Laura returned to the ward lying on her left side and she was not turned nor had her position changed until the following morning. This meant that she remained in the same position for about 16 hours.

Once Laura was fully awake she attempted to mobilise but found that her left leg felt numb and weak and she had difficulty walking. Over the following months, she underwent a number of investigations including nerve and muscle studies and an MRI scan. A lesion of the sciatic nerve was identified with a total interruption of the nerve supply to the skin and muscle of the leg.


Laura’s injury is serious and permanent. She suffers pain and discomfort in the whole of the left leg and altered sensation in the foot and outer side of the leg. She has foot drop and is unable to lift her foot from the ground. She can walk for only 5 minutes before needing rest and cannot participate in any of the physical activities most young people take for granted. She also has problems getting up and downstairs.

As Laura sustained the injury at the age of 13 her social development during her adolescence has been greatly affected. She is very self-conscious about her disability and is reluctant to be seen in public or go out with friends. The growth of her left foot has been affected and is now more than 2 sizes smaller than her right.

Laura missed over 2 years of school and college because of the injury. Her continuing feelings of anger and frustration have led to a diagnosis of adjustment disorder.

The claim

It was alleged by Laura that her injury was due to pressure palsy of the sciatic nerve resulting directly from the failure of nursing staff to change her position over a 16 hour period. This was denied by the defendant who claimed that the injury was in some way connected to Laura’s medical condition.


The case was eventually settled for £400,000 and Laura intends to use the money to live a more independent life.

Have you also suffered nerve damage following clinical negligence?

If you or someone you know has suffered in a similar way, give us a call to discuss the situation and to see whether you could be entitled to compensation. Ring us today on 0800 054 6512, or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our friendly team will get in touch with you. 

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