Case Study: Spinal Injury Failures Cause Permanent Disability

Compensation: £1.7 million

Gary, 65

A man who has has been left permanently paralysed has been awarded £1.7 million compensation following negligent spinal care by medical professionals.

Gary was left wheelchair dependant after NHS spinal injury failures rendered him permanently disabled. Gary now suffers weakness in his lower legs, poor co-ordination, loss of feeling and bladder and bowel dysfunction. 

After Gary’s claim was taken on by Eddie Jones, a specialist solicitor at JMW, he was awarded £1.7 million in compensation to help him to cope.

Start of ordeal

Gary’s ordeal began when he developed severe back pain one day. He attended an NHS walk-in centre at his local hospital and was seen by a nurse. Gary described his symptoms as severe shooting pain in his back which felt as though a knife had been stuck in it and was being twisted. Gary said the pain was coming and going and was also radiating through his chest and down his left arm and he also had pins and needles in his left hand and fingers.

The nurse told Gary to go straight to accident and emergency at the hospital. Gary went to A&E as instructed and was seen almost immediately. His heart rate was monitored with an ECG and when a doctor examined him Gary explained the pain was getting worse and that he was hot, feverish and been sweating abnormally the previous night.

It was suspected that Gary might have a problem with his heart but a chest X-Ray and blood tests all came back normal. Doctors decided that there was nothing wrong with Gary so sent home and with instructions to take paracetamol for the pain and return in a week if it had not subsided.


When Gary woke up the next day the pain was worse and he called his GP surgery for an appointment. Gary was told by the doctor that he probably had a viral infection and was prescribed a stronger painkiller. Gary’s wife drove him home and he took the medication, had a hot bath and went back to bed, still in severe pain.

When Gary woke up the next morning he found that he had very little feeling in both legs and feet, which spread all the way up to his belly button. Gary also had a pins and needles sensation, was unsteady on his feet and was stumbling like he was drunk. Gary and his wife went back to the GP surgery and the doctor told them to go straight to hospital.

After an hour-and-a-half wait Gary was given a bed and throughout the evening he was seen by a number of doctors who were all baffled by his illness. Gary had not passed urine for some time and later that night a doctor said she would arrange for an MRI scan late the following morning.

The MRI scan showed that Gary had a tumour on his spinal cord and he would be transferred to a specialist hospital for emergency spinal surgery. However by now permanent damage to the nerves in Gary’s spine had been caused due to pressure from the tumour and he was left permanently disabled. 

Successful claim

Gary felt that his tragic situation could have been avoided and contacted the specialist solicitors at JMW for help. His case was taken on by Eddie Jones, who found several unacceptable failures on the part of the hospital. These included failing to heed the significance of Gary’s symptoms, failing to undertake adequate tests and investigations and failing to discuss his condition with a specialist spinal centre and arrange his transfer there in good time. 

After JMW’s intervention Gary was awarded £1.7 million in compensation to help him to cope with the devastating impact of the errors. 

Have you or a loved one suffered in a similar way to Gary?

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