High Court Approves Six-Figure Care and Rehabilitation Package For Man After Doctors Failed To Diagnose Spinal Fracture

Specialist Medical Negligence Lawyers Secure Settlement For Family


The sister of a disabled man who was left in agonising pain after medical staff failed to diagnose his fractured spine has spoken of her relief after a six-figure settlement has been approved at the High Court today (27th November) to fund his future care needs.

Expert medical negligence lawyers from Irwin Mitchell who helped 54-year old Edward Irving and his family win their battle for justice are urging lessons to be learnt across the NHS after Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust admitted a delay in diagnosing the spinal fracture despite x-rays taken after he fell down the stairs indicating the presence of a fracture.

Edward, from Kinsley in Pontefract suffered a traumatic brain injury in 1988 after a car crash which left him with learning difficulties and limited use of his limbs on his left hand side. In 1993 he was involved in another car accident and he developed post traumatic epilepsy as a result.

On 26 October 2010, Edward fell down the stairs at his home and the next day his sister Jane took him to A&E at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield to be examined. He was taken for x-rays and he was told that they were normal and showed no injuries,

Edward remained in hospital while the gash that he had sustained to his head during his fall healed. Over the next few weeks, Edward continued to complain about pain in his back and also loss of sensation in his legs. His complaints were ignored and he was forcefully made to get out of bed and mobilise. 

By 11 November he was unable to move his legs; and Jeanet, Edward’s sister insisted an MRI scan should be performed as he was in severe pain to investigate his injuries further. The scan revealed a three column fracture in his spine. He was immediately fitted with a back brace and placed on bed rest. He was then transferred to the specialist spinal unit at Leeds General Infirmary where he underwent spinal surgery to repair the fracture. 

Unfortunately despite rehabilitation following his surgery Edward never regained the use of his legs and now needs to use a wheelchair. Due to him being wheelchair bound it was decided that it was no longer safe for Edward to live independently in his own home, his house had to be sold and he is now cared for at Hemsworth Park Care Home.

The settlement funds will be carefully managed by the funds will be managed by his sister Jeanette who has already been appointed as his deputy.

Margaret Ryan, a specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Leeds office, representing the family, said: “Edward has struggled throughout his life due to the traumatic brain injuries he suffered in his early 20’s but managed to maintain a good quality of life with help from his family and medical staff. However, the fall he suffered in 2010 has been a huge setback for him as it has had a severely damaging impact on his mobility.

“The settlement approved by the High Court today will ensure Edward has access to vital medical care and support that he will need for the rest of his life and to give his family the peace of mind that any on-going treatment will now be taken care of. 

 “In this case not only did the hospital staff fail to diagnosis the fracture following his admission but they then repeatedly dismissed Edward’s complaints of on-going pain and difficulties mobilising. Patients must be listened to no matter what their mental state   lessons must be learnt by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, and others across the country, to ensure the same mistakes do not happen again.”

Jeanet Hunter said: “Edward has overcome a lot of obstacles in his life and was living independently – something that he really enjoyed. Now because of his injuries and the delay in him getting treatment his life has been completely turned upside down. We just don’t understand how they couldn’t spot a fractured spine despite taking x-rays. Edward just gradually deteriorated until he couldn’t walk anymore.

“We are relieved that today marks the end of the legal proceedings and that the settlement has now been approved so that we can access vital support to help with his future medical and care costs and ensure he has the best possible quality of life.

“I hope that lessons have been learnt by the Trust to ensure other families are not put through what we have and that staff are adequately trained to ensure they spot and diagnose patients injuries so they can provide the appropriate medical care as soon as possible to support them in their recovery.”