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Settlement for man paralysed after doctors failed to correctly monitor him following routine operation

Stephen Onley, a social worker from Bromsgrove in Worcestershire, who once cared for people with spinal injuries, has received a £2m settlement from the NHS after his own injuries left him paralysed from the waist down because doctors failed to correctly monitor him after a routine hip operation. The settlement will enable him to adapt his property, build a hydrotherapy pool, buy wheelchairs and equipment, an adapted car and continue with his therapy. He will also receive annual payments to pay for his required daily care and support, throughout his lifetime.

Problems first began when Stephen underwent routine resurfacing surgery on his right hip. Whilst under general anaesthetic, doctors inserted a spinal epidural to help control post-operative pain.

Even though medics would have been well aware that a spinal epidural can cause a patient’s blood pressure to drop post- operatively, in the hours that followed, routine blood pressure checks were missed. By the following day Stephen’s blood pressure had fallen dangerously low, resulting in a lack of blood to his spinal cord, which caused irreparable damage.

Stephen said: “As a result of the mistakes the hospital made through not monitoring my blood pressure, I will never walk again. My lack of mobility has meant that I had developed awful pressure sores and for long periods of time throughout the past five years I have been virtually bedridden. I am now completely reliant upon my wife who has to care for me round the clock. The settlement gives me the peace of mind that I will be able to access the rehabilitation and therapies I need to help me live as independently as possible.”

Lindsay Tomlinson, a Partner and specialist medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, representing him, said: “Sadly mistakes were made which where wholly avoidable and Stephen will now need daily care and support for the rest of his life. Although no amount of money will ever turn back the clock for Stephen, we are pleased to be able to secure a fair settlement to provide Stephen with the financial support he requires paying for adaptations to his house as well as the special equipment, care and rehabilitation needed to help rebuild his life.”

Key Contact

Lindsay Tomlinson (nee Gibb)