£145,000 Compensation for Cauda Equina Medical Negligence

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A Medical Negligence Claim Case Study - Client Situation

Our client, Mrs B, began to suffer with very severe back pain, accompanied by reduced sensation and numbness on the left side of her saddle region. These symptoms persisted over the next day, so she rang NHS Direct and was advised to attend an out of hours GP service (OOH).

Following an examination, the doctor recorded a partial left-sided saddle block and referred her for an immediate orthopaedic review. She attended the A&E department of her local NHS hospital, where an orthopaedic specialist examined Mrs B and advised she could go home as soon as she passed water. She was prescribed analgesia and advised to contact her GP in order to book an appointment with a consultant. She was not advised to take any further action at all.

Over the next day, she began to pass urine very frequently and the numbness was increasing in her right side. She managed to get an appointment with her GP, who immediately referred her back to the A&E department of the defendant hospital with suspected Cauda Equina Syndrome. She underwent an MRI scan, which confirmed the Cauda Equina Syndrome diagnosis, before undergoing an emergency operation.

Mrs B remained in hospital for a further two weeks following surgery. However, she suffered completely avoidable bladder and bowel complications due to the delay in operating. This in turn had consequences on her mental state, the relationship with her husband and furthermore, she was unable to carry out the same job she previously had and suffered a devastating loss of income.

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How We Helped

Mrs B contacted our Medical Negligence Solicitors and spoke to Solicitor Sean McCann. He accepted her case and proceeded to instruct various medical experts to compile reports assessing the standard of care provided to our client, Mrs B, and what her condition would have been but for the alleged negligence.

On assessing the standard of the treatment provided to Mrs B by the orthopaedic doctor, our medical expert stated that the orthopaedic doctor had failed to pay sufficient attention to the medical history given by Mrs B on that day, and specifically did not act on the recording by the emergency GP who had examined her earlier, who recorded a partial left sided saddle block. Our medical expert advised that Mrs B should have been referred for an emergency MRI scan, which would have meant earlier intervention and surgery performed two days earlier.

With regards to the consequences of the delay, our medical experts advised that had the surgery been performed 48 hours earlier, Mrs B would not have developed any of the sequelae related to her bowels or bladder and, on balance, they would have returned to normal.

Having obtained supportive medical expert evidence, a Letter of Claim was sent to the defendant hospital detailing the significance of the red flag symptoms which Mrs B had reported and that, as a result in the delay of recognising and treating her condition, the severity of her symptoms had increased.

Whilst the defendant NHS hospital initially denied liability, Court proceedings were issued against the defendant NHS Trust, which eventually formally admitted the hospital had not recognised the two-day history of red flag symptoms when she presented to the A&E department.

The Outcome

Following further investigations as to the overall effect the injury had on Mrs B, a settlement was reached with the defendant hospital for the sum of £145,000 compensation awarded to our client, Mrs B.

For more information see Hospital Negligence Claims or Medical Negligence Case Studies.

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