At the time of his injuries, RF was an active 67-year-old, still working part-time for a local business and enjoying an active social life and travelling overseas. RF particularly loved his garden. His wife is disabled and he did all the shopping, household chores and provided her with support.
This came to an abrupt halt after a bone infection – osteomyelitis – was missed by Broomfield Hospital, Essex during a short inpatient stay for pneumonia, leading to unchecked soft tissue swelling around the spine. The swelling continued unchecked until the spinal cord was compressed and damaged irrevocably.
Had the infection been diagnosed, he would have had an early referral to orthopaedics, a biopsy and diagnosis of osteomyelitis within 48 hours and would have commenced IV antibiotics for around six weeks, which would have cured the infection. Instead, the failure to diagnose led to collapse of two of his vertebrae and unchecked soft tissue swelling, which caused neurological damage to the spine causing incomplete tetraplegia.
RF was initially wheelchair bound, but rehabilitation coupled with his incredible determination meant he not only learnt to transfer independently but also gained some therapeutic use of his legs. Early in his care, he made a complaint to Broomfield Hospital, believing that they should have diagnosed the infection earlier, but the hospital responded that their care had been good and had not caused his injuries.
Caron obtained evidence from a GP, a radiologist, an orthopaedic surgeon, a neurosurgeon and a microbiologist to establish breach and causation and used this expert evidence to prepare a detailed letter of claim. Although the hospital trust took more than nine months to respond, they admitted liability, allowing Caron to provide a detailed quantification of the claim and to negotiate a settlement.
A main focus of the settlement was achieving sufficient funds to cover RF's and his wife's care needs and to cover extensive adaptations to their home so that they would not need to move. Building work was interrupted by COVID, but we are looking forward to seeing the finalised work and RF and his wife back in their home very soon.
RF and GF said during the case: "When clinical negligence turned our world upside down Caron helped us to put it back together. Her compassion and dedication is a testament to her approach for work. Her unfaltering work ethic drives her to get the best possible outcome for her clients."
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