Medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell secured a lifetime package of care and rehabilitation for a paralysed patient.
Our client, Lisa, was born with cerebral palsy and a curved spine. She visited the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for a number of years for consultations and check-ups to do with her spinal condition. It was during these consultations that medical staff recommended she have corrective spinal surgery. The consultants advised that the operation should wait until she turned 18, so as to give her bones time to develop properly.
The surgery took place at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital on 13 March 2007, but after the operation it became clear that something was seriously wrong. There should have been an improvement in Lisa’s neurological functions, but instead there was a sharp reduction (especially in the legs). It appeared that Lisa was paralysed, so doctors scheduled a CT scan of her spine.
This scan took place on 22 March 2007, and the results showed that the surgery hadn’t been carried out properly. The surgeons had caused irreversible damage to the nerves controlling Lisa’s limbs by placing metal work at the wrong position on her spine.
Hospital staff attempted corrective surgery two days later, but this was too late for there to be any hope of reversing the mistakes. Any chance of success depended on the metal work being removed and replaced within a matter of hours after the first operation.
Sadly, Lisa is now completely dependent on a wheelchair. She can hardly move her arms, seriously hampering her ability to communicate with sign language.
Clinical negligence specialists based in our London office assisted Lisa and her family in their search for justice. After the NHS Trust admitted liability, a judge at the High Court approved a £2 million lump sum along with periodical payments of £185,000 for the rest of Lisa’s life.
Our Court of Protection team will manage the funds, which will go towards the cost of rehabilitation, carers, wheelchairs and specialist equipment.
Solicitor Marcos Eleftheriou represented the family. He said: “Even though Lisa suffered with cerebral palsy and was only able to walk short distances with a walking frame, it was hoped that the spinal surgery would improve her mobility and ultimately her independence.
“However, because of errors made during the operation, the result was the complete opposite. She was left wheelchair-dependent and lost the ability to communicate through sign language due to being unable to move her arms.
“The settlement means that she will always have access to the highest quality care, rehabilitation facilities and equipment, giving her family the peace of mind they deserve.
“But medical negligence cases like this are never just about the money, and Lisa’s family are keen for lessons to be learnt so that similar tragic mistakes aren’t made again.”
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