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£2m Compensation For Dad Left Paralysed After Delayed Spinal Abscess Diagnosis

Our surgical negligence lawyers have helped a man claim £2m in compensation after a hospital failed to diagnose and treat a spinal abscess, leaving him permanently paralysed.

Kevin Greenfield lives in Tamworth, Staffordshire, with wife, Helen, and their three grandchildren, Kieran, Cameron and Charlie.

He was struck with back pain in March 2012. He had a history of back problems and had previously attended hospital appointments about his condition.

His doctor made a home visit the following day and Kevin was admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital just before 4pm. At 6:30pm, a doctor examined Kevin and noted that he was suffering from numbness from the waist down.

The next morning, staff noted that Kevin was now completely numb from the waist down. A doctor examined him again at 3:30pm and he was sent for an MRI scan at 6:45pm.

The scan revealed that Kevin was suffering from a spinal abscess and Kevin underwent emergency surgery to drain the abscess at 8pm the next day – more than 24 hours after he was first admitted to hospital.

Staff also didn’t give Kevin antibiotics quickly enough after the operation. This allowed the infection to escalate meant that they had to operate again to remove infected tissue.

Kevin got in touch with our medical negligence solicitors after his ordeal and asked us to look into the care he had received at the hospital.

Jenna Harris is a specialist medical negligence lawyer from our Birmingham office who worked on Kevin’s claim. She said:

“Once Kevin arrived at hospital a full examination based on his symptoms and a MRI scan would have shown that his condition was deteriorating. Action could have been taken the same day to cure Kevin’s spinal infection with likelihood being he would have made a full recovery.

“For him to wait until the following day for the severity of his condition to be diagnosed was a clear breach in the duty of care he should have expected to receive.”

After investigations by our team, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has now agreed to pay Kevin a £2m compensation settlement. The money will help Kevin and his family move into a specially adapted home and help pay for the care and mobility aids he will need in his daily life. The settlement will also compensate for Kevin being unable to work in the future.

“While no amount of money can ever compensate for the way Kevin and his family’s life has been turned upside down,” Jenny said, “we hope that the settlement will now allow them to focus on the future and help them to try and get their lives back on track as much as they can.

“We urge the NHS Trust to learn lessons from this sad case so others don’t have to suffer the pain Kevin and his family have gone through.”

Kevin said: “The last five years have been a real struggle for the family as we tried to come to terms with my condition.

“Prior to the incident me and Helen led really active lives. I enjoyed cooking and did all the jobs round the house, me and Helen would often go out with friends and I enjoyed going to the football.

“Now I am unable to do simple daily tasks such as cooking as I can’t safely reach all of the appliances. Helen now has to do a lot more for me than she did before. At times it feels like she’s more my carer than my wife.

“I feel annoyed that I struggle to take part in many activities with my grandchildren. Due to my mobility issues I always have to consider the practicalities of doing any little task.

“There are good days and bad days. I’m still angry that if the hospital had taken swift steps to diagnose my condition I probably would not be in the position I am.”

If you or a loved one have been affected by mistakes made during surgery, our medical negligence lawyers may be able to help you make a compensation claim. See our surgical negligence page for more information.

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