Jonathan was a successful business man who had consulted the defendant, a consultant neurosurgeon, privately in connection with neck pain.
On 18 October 2001, during an operation on his cervical spine, the defendant severed the right 5th and caused trauma to the right 6th cervical nerve roots.
As a result, Jonathan suffered severe disablement to his right (dominant) arm and shoulder and consequently the use of his hand.
Jonathan underwent remedial surgery in March 2002 and although he has made a remarkable recovery, he remains significantly disabled.
Paul McNeil pursued an neurosurgery negligence claim on Jonathan's behalf and argued that the surgeon:
- was negligent in that he undertook surgery when there was no necessity to do so
- performed surgery which carried greater risks owing to the fact that the same surgeon had operated 14 weeks previously in the same area
- used a technique that carried greater risk
- failed to stop the surgery when he encountered significant scar tissue
- failed to protect the C5 and C6 nerve roots
- failed to recognise that he had severed the C5 nerve (which he was seeking to decompress) during the course of the surgery.
The defendant denied liability until service of the defence. At this point, liability was admitted but there was a significant difference between the parties as to the valuation of the claim.
Both parties entered into settlement negotiations. The case was eventually settled for £600,000, which Jonathan was happy to accept.