Medical Negligence

Almost £5million secured for spinal cord injury client

March 29, 2023
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£4.85 million compensation obtained following paralysis due to hospital negligence spinal cord injury

Written by Iain Dodd, Partner

We have recently secured a lump sum settlement of £4,850,000 for a now 63-year-old female, who tragically suffered a spinal cord injury following medical negligence. After developing an infection whilst residing as an in-patient in a North-West hospital, medical practitioners failed to treat the infection in adequate time, with suitable antibiotics and a revision procedure. Consequently, her treatment was delayed and she suffered a devastating incomplete spinal cord injury at T4 level, causing her to become a permanent wheelchair user.

A previously fit and healthy individual

At the time of the negligence in 2017, the woman underwent successful back surgery to try and alleviate her sciatica. Aside from some back pain, she was previously fit and healthy and in employment. Following this surgery, she developed an infection a couple of weeks later, and despite being admitted onto the neurosurgical ward for observations and treatment, the hospital negligently failed to recognise that her symptoms indicated the possibility of a spinal abscess.

The hospital initially denied liability. This resulted in litigation commencing in the High Court. Following this, the hospital admitted full liability that with appropriate treatment, the woman would have made a full recovery. We were then able to secure substantial interim payments to assist her extensive rehabilitation and housing needs.

Complex litigation and successful negotiations

A settlement meeting between the parties occurred but unfortunately an agreement could not be reached because the Defendant would not offer provisional damages. This was a very important part of the claim as the woman had a risk, albeit relatively small, that she could suffer from additional deterioration in future due to her spinal cord injury. The case continued and after further negotiations, an agreement was reached which included a lump sum payment of £4.85 million plus provisional damages.

Iain Dodd, a Partner at Fletchers Group, and his legal team acted on behalf of the woman. Iain was supported by Emily Whiteley and Chloe Mead.

Iain said; “This was a hard-fought and excellent result for our client. It was vital to continue fighting for provisional damages and the maximum compensation. Our client is looking forward to maximising her quality of life after such a catastrophic spinal cord injury. It has been a real pleasure to help such a wonderfully determined woman and her husband. I would also like to express my sincere thanks to all the legal team for working so tirelessly to secure a very strong outcome.”

A long and complicated claim

Exchange Chambers were instructed as the Claimant’s barristers, namely David Knifton KC and Chris Gutteridge.

Chris said; “This compromise marks the end of a long and complicated claim. This Claimant and her husband have endured a horrific ordeal and have had to come to terms with a life-changing injury. They have done that with admirable poise and grace. They have shown the same composure when dealing with difficult decisions in the litigation process. It has been a pleasure for David and I to work with Iain and his team in bringing this case to a successful conclusion. It really has been a team-effort and we are delighted to have achieved this result.”

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