Hospital Pay Out £4.37 Million for Delay in Treatment of Spinal Condition

A woman has been left with severe disabilities after appalling delays treating her spinal cord injury. 

Heather, formerly of Tunbridge Wells, who is just 40 years old, is facing a life of severe pain due to delays in her treatment by King’s College Hospital. 

She cannot walk independently and relies on a Tripod walker aid or wheelchair to get around.  She has been dependent on her husband for care for the last 6 years. 

After her case was taken on by Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at law firm JMW, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust admitted liability for her disabilities.  The Trust has now agreed to pay Heather compensation amounting to £4.37 million over her lifetime.  Mr Jones commented:

There was an inexplicable delay in making sure that Heather received urgent surgery which would have meant she would have avoided her current disabilities. 

No explanation has ever been given for the delay to accept her for treatment, despite the efforts of her GP and local Hospital to secure her transfer for urgent Neurosurgical care. 

If Heather had received the treatment that she required when originally requested by her Doctor, she would have made a near complete recovery”.

Heather commented:

I want to bring the circumstances of what happened to me to public attention so that both patients and Doctors are aware of the need for urgent treatment of spinal conditions.  What saddens me is to know that with early treatment of my condition I would not be stuck in a wheelchair for much of my time and would have avoided excruciating pain that I experience everyday”.

Mr Jones who specialises in cases of severe spinal injury welcomed the Trust’s decision to settle Heather’s case. 

He added:

Following a five year legal battle Heather will at last receive some recompense for the devastating injuries which she has suffered.  Her injuries have left her profoundly disabled and have affected not only her life but that of her husband and son”.

Heather was taken by her GP in his own car to the Kent & Sussex Hospital on the 28th September 2009, as he suspected she had a serious spinal condition.  Although Junior Doctors recognised this and wanted to arrange an urgent MRI Scan this was delayed until the following morning.  After the scan had been performed, the Doctors at the Kent & Sussex Hospital tried to transfer Heather to the Neurosurgical Unit at King’s College Hospital for urgent treatment.  Despite their efforts, King’s College Hospital failed to accept her as a patient until the afternoon of the 1st October 2009, despite her condition deteriorating during this time.  She underwent urgent surgery overnight on the 1st/2nd October 2009 but sadly for Heather it was too late to alleviate her devastating injuries.  


For more information:

Samantha Meakin

0161 828 1981


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