Case study: Spinal Surgery Errors Lead to Paralysis

Jack, 23

JMW has helped a man secure a large settlement following a surgical error in the hands of medical professionals led to permanent paralysis.

When Jack was a child he was diagnosed with a condition called scoliosis which meant he would need spinal surgery later in life to ensure he maintained his independence. However the hospital responsible for his care failed to ensure the surgery was carried when it ought to have been done and this lead to Jack becoming paralysed and reliant on a wheelchair.

After Jack’s case was taken on by Angharad Hughes, one of JMW’s specialist solicitors, the hospital trust admitted negligence, paving the way for compensation to be secured for him. 

Delayed surgery

Jack suffered from scoliosis, which causes the spine to curve and become progressively worse over time and can leave the victim severely debilitated if not treated appropriately. 

When Jack was 14 X-rays revealed that the curve had progressed significantly however surgery to address this was not arranged. The next year yet again X-Rays showed further progression however as Jack was due to take school exams that year the consultant advised that he thought the surgery should be delayed until after these had been completed.


After his exams Jack had a further MRI scan which showed that the curvature of his spine had increased severely over the last two years. Realising the urgency of his situation and the need to act to try to prevent permanent disability doctors arranged for the first stage of the surgery to take place three days later. 

However due to the deterioration in his condition Jack required more complicated surgery than he would have done if it had been carried out two years ago and the risk of something going wrong was greater.

Unfortunately during the second stage of the surgery an accident occurred which temporarily prevented nerve signals from being passed through the spinal cord. The operation had to be abandoned and Jack’s deformity was not corrected. Furthermore the day after the operation Jack woke up to find he had no feeling in his legs. 

Jack never regained feeling in his legs and as well as having a deformity that he had once been able to cope well with he was now confined to a wheelchair. Due to the paralysis he also developed problems with his bowel and bladder function. Previously Jack had been able to walk, enjoyed an active social life and had lots of friends. His paralysis took a huge psychological toll on him and he lost much of his independence. 

Successful claim

If the doctors responsible for Jack’s care had monitored the progress of the curvature of his spine as they ought to have done and ensured that surgery was carried out in a timely manner then his deformity would have been significantly less at the time of the operation. The surgery would have been much more straightforward and in all probabilities Jack would not have been left paralysed. 

After Jack’s case was taken on by JMW medical negligence solicitor Angharad Hughes the hospital trust admitted liability for his paralysis and agreed to pay him compensation to enable him to cope. Angharad is now negotiating a compensation settlement for Jack so that he can achieve the best possible quality of life. 

Have you or a family member also suffered negligent spinal surgery?

If you would like to find out more about any of the topics discussed above, or how we can help you in your particular situation, simply get in touch with our expert and friendly team.

Do so by calling us on 0800 054 6512 or by completing our online enquiry form, allowing us to get back to you.

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