Six Figure Settlement After Implant 'Electric Shock' Horror

Failed Surgical Implant Operation


Six Figure Settlement After Implant 'Electric Shock' Horror

A West Midlands man, who was left in agony when he suffered multiple fractures after a failed surgical implant operation, has received a substantial six figure out of court settlement.

Despite being in terrible agony, and suffering horrendous bruising, both hospital doctors and a GP failed to diagnose the fractures for more than SEVEN months and as a result sixty year old Gerald Morgan's hips and legs are now permanently deformed and he is totally reliant upon a wheelchair.

Mr Morgan, from Kings Heath in Birmingham underwent surgery at the Royal London Hospital in October 2004, for the implant of a spinal stimulator which was meant to control pain he had suffered for a number of years.

However when surgeons turned on the stimulator for the first time, Mr Morgan suffered a massive contraction of his muscles, similar to an electric shock which threw him from up from his wheelchair with such force that he fractured several bones in his pelvis and hips.

A clinical negligence expert from Irwin Mitchell Solicitors has criticised both the GP and the Hospital Trust for taking more than five years to admit a failure to x-ray Mr Morgan's injuries left him permanently disabled. The out of court settlement will now fund the permanent care Mr Morgan requires.

Mr Morgan, a former heavy goods driver, first suffered health problems when in 1980 he fractured his right arm. He went on to be diagnosed with Sudek's atrophy, also known as complex regional pain syndrome.

The pain gradually spread to other parts of his body and Mr Morgan underwent a number of procedures and implants in a bid to alleviate the constant pain he endured.

On 11 October 2004, he underwent an operation at the Royal London Hospital to insert a lumbar spinal stimulator, to help control pain he was experiencing in his back and leg.

Mr Morgan recalls: "The next day the stimulator was turned on for the first time and I suffered a massive contraction of my muscles, like a huge electric shock, that threw me out of the wheelchair into a standing position and then back down again, about half a dozen times."

"The machine was turned off and I was in extreme pain and shock, and an anaesthetist prescribed me morphine. The next morning I had widespread bruising around my right side and groin area and I was in terrible pain. Despite this, I was sent home three days later with no further investigations by the hospital."

Ally Taft, a solicitor and clinical negligence expert at the Midlands offices of national law firm Irwin Mitchell, represented Gerald Morgan in his claim. She explained: "After being discharged Gerald was visited by his GP who prescribed painkillers but he was not referred back to hospital for any x-rays despite the physical signs that he had obviously suffered a trauma."

"It was not until May 2005, almost seven months after the operation and after many visits back to his GP and the treating surgeons in London, that he was finally referred for x-rays which diagnosed a fractured pelvis and fractures of both hips."

Mr Morgan referred himself to Selly Oak Hospital who referred him to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Birmingham, where surgeons advised that the delay in treatment meant it was not possible to treat the fractures. As a result his posture is now permanently deformed, with contractures of both knees and hips and he now has to take high doses of pain killers to try to manage the pain he suffers.

Ally Taft continued: "The claim was brought against Barts and the London NHS Trust for the way the stimulator was inserted and switched on and for the failure to diagnose his fractures, and against Mr Morgan's GP, Dr Yap of Maypole Health Centre in Kings Heath, for failing to diagnose the fractures.

"Independent experts have advised that the stimulator was inserted too far to the side of Mr Morgan's spine, so it stimulated his motor nerves rather than his sensory nerves, leading to the massive contraction of his muscles which propelled him from the wheelchair he was sitting in following the operation, before dropping him back again with great force.

"Both defendants resolutely denied liability for five years and made only partial admissions in October 2009. We continued to fight on Mr Morgan's behalf and a six figure settlement was finally agreed in April 2010."

Mr Morgan is using the settlement to pay for a new home which will be suitable for his needs. Although suffering from pain prior to the spinal implant he had been able to walk short distances with a walking stick. Now as a result of his injuries, his posture is permanently deformed; he is in constant pain and is confined to a wheelchair. His wife Dawn is his main carer and Gerald is very dependent upon her, together with a friend and a paid carer who attend each week.

"After a five and a half year battle I remain very angry at the treatment I received," says Gerald. "I regard the settlement as clear acknowledgement of failings on the part of the hospital doctors and my GP. I hope they both learn lessons from what happened to me so that nobody else has to suffer as I have.

"Although no amount of money will put right the injuries I have suffered, the settlement will mean I can move to a specially adapted bungalow which will make life a lot easier for both me and Dawn."