£150,000 Medical Negligence Compensation for Spinal Injury

Author:
Sean McCann
Partner, Medical Negligence Solicitor
Date:
12/10/2020

A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study - Client Situation

Mr S was diagnosed with a prolapsed cervical disc in 1992 and warned that without surgery, he’d probably become paralysed. He underwent the procedure and made a full recovery, so was able to go back to his job and continue enjoying active hobbies such as playing golf, tennis, cricket and squash.

Many years later, in 2016, Mr S began suffering with increased neck pain, and he went to The Walton Centre in Liverpool for an annual check-up of his spinal condition. His neurosurgeon advised him to undergo Anterior Cervical Discectomy (ACDF) surgery, which would involve making an incision through his throat to remove a spinal disc and inserting a metal cage to relieve pressure on the cord.

Mr S was told there was a 60% chance that the procedure would improve his condition, or at least make sure it didn’t get any worse. He wasn’t keen to have the operation after undergoing previous spinal procedures, but was persuaded this was a “no lose option” and decided to go through with the surgery.

Unfortunately, he was injured during the operation and he was left partly paralysed. After being discharged from The Walton Centre, he spent nearly 3 months upstairs at home, and since he was unable to look after himself or cook any meals, his wife became his full-time unofficial carer.

Mr S received physiotherapy to help his condition, but even after further surgery, he still suffered severe mobility issues, and could only walk about 100 yards with the help of a stick. He was also left with bladder issues and erectile dysfunction because of the injury, while the trauma of what he went through led to a severe lack of confidence and other mental health issues.

Mr S got in touch with our Medical Negligence Solicitors for a free claims assessment, so he could discuss what had happened and whether he had a good chance of successfully claiming compensation. Partner and Medical Negligence Solicitor Sean McCann felt he had a strong case and took on his claim on a No Win, No Fee basis.

How We Helped

Sean and his team began a thorough investigation into what happened to Mr S. This included arranging for him to be assessed by independent medical experts, so they could put together reports assessing the standard of care that had been provided at Walton Centre, and what his condition would have been had the alleged medical negligence not taken place.

Sean approached The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust with details of our claim and argued that it hadn’t received Mr S’s informed consent before carrying out the ACDF procedure.

We believed that Mr S was more susceptible to suffering the injury that he sustained during the operation because of his previous history of spinal problems and surgeries. This, we stated, meant he wouldn’t have agreed to go ahead with the surgery had he been advised of the risk, as he was living an active life and managing his symptoms well at this time.

The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust accepted liability (fault), but disputed some elements of the claim, such as the suggestion Mr S was told the surgery was a “no lose option” with a “0% chance of paralysis”.

The Outcome

Following lengthy negotiations with the Trust, in which various possible settlement figures were put forward, Mr S was awarded £150,000 in compensation.

This reflected the entirely avoidable pain and suffering he’d gone through, the effect of his spinal injury on his quality of life, and the financial consequences of the medical negligence, including covering his loss of earnings and care costs.

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