Paralysed Patient Granted Lifetime Package Of Rehabilitation And Care

Medical Law Expert Calls For Lessons To Be Learnt

21.01.2013

A woman left paralysed because of mistakes made during and after spinal surgery is to receive a multi-million pounds care package that will secure her access to a lifetime of rehabilitation and support, the Court ruled today (21 January).

The unnamed woman, who has cerebral palsy and is deaf, underwent an operation to correct her curved spine at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in 2007 when she was 18, but surgeons inserted metal work at the wrong level of her spine causing irreparable damage to the nerves controlling her limbs. She is now totally reliant on a wheelchair and unable to communicate with sign language, like she used to, because she can barely move her arms.

Medical law experts from Irwin Mitchell’s London office have been helping the family in their battle for justice which culminated at the High Court today when the judge approved a £2.2 million lump sum and periodical payments of £185,000 for the rest of her life after the hospital Trust admitted responsibility.

The funds will be managed by Irwin Mitchell’s in-house Court of Protection team and will be used to pay for rehabilitation, help from carers, specialist equipment and wheelchairs.

Marcos Eleftheriou from Irwin Mitchell, representing the family, said: “Although my client suffered cerebral palsy and could only walk short distances with a walking frame, it was hoped the operation on her spine would improve her movement and ultimately her independence.

“However because of mistakes made during surgery the result was the complete opposite - leaving her totally wheelchair reliant and causing her to lose the ability to communicate through sign language due to being unable to move her arms.

“The settlement today means the family now have complete peace of mind that she will always have access to the best possible care, rehabilitation facilities and equipment to give her the best quality of life possible.

“However no medical law case is ever just about the money and like us, the family are keen that lessons have been learnt to keep patients safe and to prevent the same unnecessary, life changing error being made again.”