Our medical negligence solicitors helped a man claim compensation from an NHS Trust after his doctors failed to find a large abscess on his spine. The infection from the abscess left him unable to walk ever again.
Kevin Greenfield led an active lifestyle with his wife Helen and their three young grandchildren who live with the couple.
In March 2012, Kevin started having severe back pain. His GP came to Kevin’s home to help him and recommended he go to hospital.
Kevin went to the Royal Derby Hospital where a specialist spinal injury doctor examined him. The doctor noticed Kevin was experiencing some numbness from the waist down. After his examination, hospital staff gave Kevin pain relief medication and told him to rest for 24 hours.
The next day, doctors noted that Kevin was now completely numb from the waist down. Again, nothing happened until that evening when Kevin went for an MRI scan in the evening. Doctors carrying out the scan said there was nothing showing up.
Kevin had a second contrast scan. A contrast scan helps improve the clarity of the body’s internal structure so that doctors can detect problems if a normal MRI doesn’t show any results.
The scan revealed a huge abscess the size of an orange on Kevin’s spine. The abscess was pushing onto his spinal cord which was why Kevin was in so much pain. He had emergency surgery to remove the abscess and doctors told him he’d make a full recovery.
After his operation, doctors told Kevin everything had gone well. But Kevin still needed antibiotics to keep the infection from the abscess under control. Doctors only gave Kevin these antibiotics more than two days after his surgery. This delay meant that Kevin had to have another surgery to remove some infected tissue.
It took six weeks for Kevin to recover and during this time he went to a rehabilitation clinic in Sheffield.
At the clinic, Kevin found out that he would never walk again. This was devastating news for Kevin and his family. Before his operation he was active and enjoyed going to football games and entertaining his grandchildren. Kevin and Helen also had plans to do a lot of travelling in future, but now these plans would have to be put on hold.
How We Helped
Kevin and Helen contacted our medical negligence solicitors to see if we could help them claim compensation.
Kevin’s disability had changed his life completely. He had to stop working and it was difficult to move around his home in a wheelchair. He hoped any compensation would help give his family some financial security and pay for adaptions to his home. His wife, Helen, also had to help him do almost everything and this was a big strain on their relationship. Kevin said:
“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.”
Specialist medical negligence solicitor, Jenna Harris, worked with Kevin to find out what happened while he was in hospital. She helped Kevin make a claim against the Derby Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for not giving Kevin the level of care he needed.
At first, the Trust would not take responsibility for what happened. We used expert evidence from medical professionals to argue that Kevin’s doctors could’ve acted quicker to operate on his spine. Instead, they only operated on Kevin 24 hours after he came to hospital, even though Kevin was in extreme pain.
After his surgery, Kevin’s doctors also failed to give him the antibiotics he needed to cure his infection. This meant he had to have another surgery and by this time it was too late.
After five years of negotiations, the Trust agreed to a settlement of £2 million. The Trust said:
“We apologise to Mr Greenfield for the delay in diagnosis and treatment of his spinal infection . . . We hope the compensation agreed will enable Mr Greenfield to secure the assistance he now requires.”
Kevin’s settlement will help him pay for the specialist treatment and rehabilitation he needs. It will also help Kevin make adaptions to his home so he can have more independence around the house.
Helen, Kevin’s wife said:
“Kevin’s paralysis has had a huge impact on so many aspects on our lives. However, as a family we’re trying to put the last five years behind us. Hopefully now we can look more to the future rather than dwell in the past and begin to feel more positive about life.”
After the settlement, senior associate Jenna Harris commented that:
“While no amount of money can ever compensate for the way Kevin and his family’s life has been turned upside down, 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.”
If you or a loved one has suffered from medical negligence, contact our surgery claims team on 0370 1500 100.
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