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22 October 2022 | Case Study | Article by Helen Dolan

Over £4 million in compensation for man left paraplegic

Delay in surgery resulted in spinal cord injury leaving our client in a wheelchair. Luke had been suffering from back pain and went to see his GP who referred him to hospital for investigations. An MRI scan showed that he had a ruptured disc in his spine. He was advised to go to A&E and was admitted to hospital with a plan to perform emergency surgery.

Three days later he was still waiting for an operation and his condition had deteriorated. He underwent surgery late that night but on waking was unable to move his legs. He was transferred to a specialist spinal injuries centre for rehabilitation.

We argued that the surgery that Luke needed should have been performed sooner before the significant deterioration in his condition, and that with an earlier operation he would have made a complete recovery.

Liability was initially disputed by the hospital trust but it was eventually admitted that Luke should have undergone surgery a day earlier and that he would have made a full or nearly full recovery.

As a result of the delay in surgery, Luke was left paraplegic and dependent on a wheelchair. He suffers from bowel, bladder and sexual dysfunction. He experiences pain and severe spasms which affect his quality of life and his independence. As he gets older, his mobility and independence are likely to deteriorate further.

Luke was unable to return to the work that he loved or his hobbies of hill walking, cycling and golf which he had planned to continue into retirement.

We were successful in negotiating an award of compensation for Luke which will be worth over £4 million over the course of his lifetime. This will allow him to buy and adapt a new home, purchase items of specialist equipment and pay for the therapies and care that he will need for the rest of his life.

Luke was represented by Helen DolanGill Edwards and Helen Budge, in the clinical negligence department, who said:

Luke suffered an avoidable injury which has been life changing for him and his family. While the settlement will not give him back the health or quality of life he enjoyed before, the compensation will provide him with the security that his future needs will be met.

The names and identifying details of the client have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals involved.

Author bio

Helen Dolan is Joint Head of the Manchester Office and Head of the Clinical Negligence team. Helen specialises in high value complex secondary brain injury, spinal cord injury (including cauda equina syndrome), birth injury, cerebral palsy and wrongful birth cases, and also has extensive experience of orthopaedic and surgical cases.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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