Medical Negligence Lawyers Instructed To Investigate And Help Harborough Man Access Specialist Therapies
A dad is calling for lessons to be learned after a Hospital Trust admitted a two-week delay in treating him for a serious spinal condition that can leave people paralysed.
Massimo Mattera, of Great Bowden, Harborough, Leicestershire, attended A&E at a local hospital, complaining of back pain and right-sided numbness. He was suspected to have cauda equina syndrome, a rare condition in which the nerves of the spinal cord are compressed.
As the hospital had no MRI facility available at the time, staff contacted Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) to ask whether Massimo should be transferred there for a scan that evening - 21 October 2018. LRI said the scan could wait until the next day.
Leicestershire man Massimo sent home from hospital for an appointment in four to six weeks
Massimo was admitted to the hospital and underwent the MRI scan on 22 October, 2018. The images were provided to LRI, which advised it would see him in the trauma clinic in four to six weeks. Massimo was discharged home.
However, around two weeks later, Massimo again attended A&E. An urgent MRI scan was carried out and Massimo was transferred to LRI by ambulance for decompression surgery and a discectomy to remove the damaged part of his spine.
Following his surgery in November 2018, Massimo, aged 42, continued to suffer from an increased loss of sensation.
Massimo asks medical negligence lawyers to investigate his care
He instructed expert medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, which runs LRI, and help him access the specialist treatment and therapies he now requires.
Through its legal team, the Trust admitted Massimo “should have been transferred to Leicester and should have undergone an urgent MRI scan,” on 21 October, 2018.
It further admitted that Massimo “should then have been listed for urgent decompression surgery, and this would have been carried out on 22 October 2018.”
Hospital Trust apologises for shortcomings in care
The Trust accepted liability and apologised for “the shortcomings in the care provided” to Massimo. Irwin Mitchell is now working with the Trust to finalise a settlement which will fund the specialist rehabilitation and therapies Massimo requires.
Massimo is now joining with his legal team in calling for lessons to be learned and raising awareness of signs of the condition.
Expert Opinion“The past five years have been incredibly difficult for Massimo, firstly developing cauda equina syndrome and then finding out that he should have undergone decompression surgery sooner.
“While rare, cauda equina syndrome is incredibly serious and can lead to life-changing health problems. Early detection and treatment are key to making the best recovery possible.
“While we can’t turn back the clock and change what Massimo has been through, we welcome the Trust’s admissions. It’s now vital that lessons are learned to help prevent others from suffering similarly in the future.
“We continue to support Massimo to help him access the specialist support and rehabilitation he now requires because of the issues in his care.” Katie Sheahan
Cauda equina: Massimo Mattera's story
Massimo’s operation took place on 5 November, 2018, more than two weeks after he initially attended hospital.
He was discharged home four days later.
Five years on, Massimo continues to suffer from right-sided numbness and weakness, and has bowel and urinary issues. He also had to give up his work in sales.
Massimo lives with his wife Lisa Darling, aged 36. He also has two children from previous relationships, Luca and Roman, aged 17 and six.
Massimo reveals impact of spinal condition
Massimo said: “I’d had back pain in the past, but I knew something wasn’t quite right when I developed numbness.
“It was something I hadn’t experienced before, however, when I was discharged home from Leicester, I trusted the professionals that there was nothing serious going on.
“Then my condition got worse. I ended up back at hospital undergoing urgent surgery, which came as a huge shock.
“Since then, I still suffer leg and foot pain constantly. I use crutches to get around and I also have a splint on my right leg as my foot is floppy and my ankle needs support. I’ve had a few falls as my leg can give way without warning. I’ve also put on a lot of weight which is really upsetting.
“It’s awful to think that it could have been avoided had I been treated for cauda equina syndrome earlier.
“I know I can’t change what happened, but I’m grateful that the Hospital Trust has admitted liability and I hope that something is learned from my story to prevent others from going through what I have.
“It’s also important to know what to look out for when it comes to cauda equina syndrome, as it’s not something I knew anything about prior to developing it myself.”
Red flag symptoms of cauda equina and support available
The red flag symptoms for cauda equina syndrome include loss of sensation between the legs, bladder and bowel disturbance, back pain and lower limb pain, numbness and weakness.
More information about the condition is available on the website of the Cauda Equina Champions Charity.
Find out more about Irwin Mithell's expertise in supporting people affected by the condition access the specialist support and rehabilitation they require at our dedicated cauda equina claims section. Alternatively, to speak to an expert contact us or call 0370 1500 100.