Medical Negligence

£3m settlement achieved for woman who suffered spinal injury due to delayed diagnosis

February 27, 2024
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The incident  

The case relates to a delay in the diagnosis of a spinal meningioma – a type of tumour that begins in the layers of tissue covering the brain and spinal cord. Prior to the alleged negligence our client had been suffering with years of leg and lower back pain. She underwent surgery in 2013 for an arthritic knee and physiotherapy; unfortunately, even after the surgery, our client found it very difficult to walk and continued to suffer with reduced weakness impacting on her mobility.  

Over the next few years, our client had multiple hospital attendances and treatments, but this didn’t help her with her pain and the treating professionals appeared to be unable to offer an explanation. All investigations had focused solely on the lower back. Sadly, our client developed further weakness with urinary involvement, and it wasn’t until November 2016 further investigations, including an MRI of the thoracic area of the spine was performed. Only then, some years later, was the spinal tumour identified and our client underwent urgent surgery to remove the tumour.  

Our client became concerned that there was a delay by medical professionals in arranging an urgent MRI scan, which delayed detection of the tumour.  

Sadly, due to the delayed diagnosis, the tumour was allowed to grow and compress/damage spinal nerves beyond repair. Our client is now paraplegic; she requires a wheelchair and is unable to transfer independently. In addition, it was advised that our client’s life expectancy is reduced by at least one year. Our client also experienced the following difficulties because of the delayed diagnosis: 

  • Continence issues and requiring a suprapubic catheter 
  • Neuropathic pain 
  • Infection to left knee joint replacement 

The case 

Our client approached Fletchers Solicitors for support in investigating the allegations of medical negligence, and the spinal injury claim was taken on by Clinical Negligence Solicitor, Georgina Tither.  

During the case, it was alleged that had the MRI scan been done earlier, it would have revealed the T5 spinal meningioma, which could have been treated with decompression surgery. It was alleged that if the meningioma was treated earlier, our client would have made a good recovery with no objective signs of loss of strength, no loss of sensation, no neuropathic pain and perhaps requiring a stick to mobilise.  

It was also alleged that the delay in diagnosis had allowed the tumour to grow, causing urinary issues, which could have been avoided.  

The aftermath 

Our client now unfortunately experiences extreme fatigue and is very weak, and her partner acts as her main caregiver. Due to this incident and our client’s care needs, she and her partner unfortunately had to retire early. 

At the time of the medical negligence, our client was living in a first floor flat. Although she has been temporarily living in single storey local authority accommodation, both are inadequate. Our client plans to use some of her settlement to purchase a suitable property, which is wheelchair accessible, and can be adapted to her needs.  

The case outcome  

While the Trust admitted that there was a negligent error, they only accepted partial causation, meaning they believed they were only partly responsibility for our client’s pain, suffering and loss. The Defendant had tried to suggest that our client would have been wheelchair dependent in any event. A Joint Settlement Meeting was held, and thanks to the hard work and dedication of Georgina, the case was settled with our client receiving compensation of £3,000,000.  

Upon reflection, Georgina Tither commented: “To assist our client in securing a settlement in the sum of £3million has been a real privilege. Unfortunately, we’ll never be able to change the outcome, but to secure such a settlement I hope will help our client in making life easier, more comfortable and enjoyable as possible. It is extremely rewarding that we have been able to achieve such a successful outcome given the Defendant’s initial position.” 

If you or a loved one has been affected by medical negligence, get in touch on 0330 013 0251 or request a callback 

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