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Case Study: Poor Care for Spinal Injury Causes Disability
Richard was left wheelchair bound due to weakness in all four limbs (quadriparesis) caused by a spinal condition which did not receive the appropriate medical attention. After Richard’s case was taken on by Olivia Scates, a partner in the JMW medical negligence team, the hospital admitted the errors and agreed to pay Richard £750,000 in compensation to help him to cope, by covering the cost of such things as adaptations to his home.
Another trust also paid Richard a further £25,000 for errors made with a separate knee injury that was also made worse by the poor spine care.
When Richard was 75 he developed neck pain and strange ‘shooting’ sensations down his right arm and into his hand. After visiting his GP with the complaint he was referred to a hospital doctor specialising in pain management who arranged for an MRI scan of his spine to be carried out.
The MRI scan revealed that Richard was suffering from severe degenerative joint disease throughout the whole of his spine, which was being compressed in at least two places. Richard was referred to a neurologist and both the neurologist and the pain management doctor tried to control his symptoms over the following year with medication and epidural injections
However Richard’s condition did not improve and he was put on the waiting list for spinal surgery.
After being on the waiting list for several months the surgery was carried out.
Unfortunately the surgeon carried out the operation at the wrong level of the spine, which Richard was never informed about. However, luckily for Richard this did not cause him any immediate injury. Coincidentally, unrelated to the surgery there was some improvement in Richard’s symptoms.
When Richard attended a follow-up appointment the surgeon recommended a further operation. This was despite not carrying out a neurological examination or informing Richard that there had been a mistake with regard to the original operation.
The surgeon was quite keen to carry out the second operation as soon as possible and being none-the-wiser about the reason for this Richard agreed. However after it was completed Richard’s condition deteriorated significantly, which was probably due to a haematoma (collection of blood) at the site of the spine where the epidural had been administered.
He required urgent review by a neurologist and further surgery to relieve increasing pressure on his spinal cord. However neither of these steps were carried out until the following day, when he underwent a decompression operation. This operation failed, as did a further one that was carried out three days later.
Richard was left with severe and permanent nerve damage and weakness in all four limbs (quadriparesis) due to the catalogue of errors that were made resulting in his becoming wheelchair dependent. If the first operation had been carried out correctly as it ought to have been then this would have been avoided.
Richard and his family sought help from Olivia Scates, a partner in JMW’s medical negligence team, who helped them to challenge this poor care. The hospital trust admitted the appalling errors and the spinal claim was settled for £750,000. Richard was awarded a further £25,000 for a knee injury that was not treated appropriately by another hospital and was made worse by the quadriparesis that he suffered as a result of the poor spinal care.
Have you or a loved one also suffered lasting effects following poor care for an injury?
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.
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Jim had an attack of sciatica at work, it didn't get better with rest and his GP suspected cauda equina syndrome and sent him to a hospital for investigation. His condition wasn't initially properly diagnosed and got worse and has led to long term suffering.
Peter was left with permanent bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction, as well as disability and constant pain after delayed treatment of his cauda equina syndrome. As a result he lost his job and struggles with day-to-day tasks such as caring for his children.
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Paul had a long history of lower back pain and when he was 35 years old, he underwent a laminectomy for removal of a prolapsed intervertebral disc. This was only partially successful and he continued to suffer episodic lower back pain.
'John' now relies on a wheelchair for getting about outdoors after appalling delays to surgery he needed urgently to treat cauda equina syndrome. Steven Brown, a senior associate in JMW's specialist medical negligence team secured John £280,000 in compensation to help him cope with his permanent disabilities.
Joanne was left with permanent bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction after delays in recognising her cauda equina syndrome. Her case was taken on by JMW Solicitors and she was awarded £250,000 in compensation.
Find out how we helped Tricia to claim £250,000 after medical professionals failed to recognise the risks of cauda equina syndrome.
Aaron was awarded £225,000 in compensation after JMW challenged the poor care that he faced when his Cauda Equina Syndrome was missed by medical professionals. This case study tells his story.
Tony had a long history of lower back pain and sciatica.However, when he was 48 years old he suffered a recurrence of his symptoms. After a month his condition became much more severe and so visited his GP, who prescribed pain relief. JMW claimed £150,000 for the claimant due to clinical negligence.
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Collette, 39, had her life devastated by appalling delays to urgently needed spinal surgery. Eddie Jones, head of medical negligence at JMW helped her to win her battle for justice, paving the way for compensation to be secured.