Delayed treatment of spinal haematoma led to disability, depression and suicide | Fieldfisher
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Case Study

Delayed treatment of spinal haematoma led to disability, depression and suicide

Lindsay Holt successfully settled a claim for Anna* on behalf of her late husband, Simon*, who suffered from negligent treatment at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. This resulted in a spinal cord injury, left him with incomplete paraplegia and contributed to his death.

Simon was a contract crane lift manager with passion for life. He liked fishing and playing golf.

In 2013, he experienced severe back and shoulder pain and was taken by ambulance to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

Simon had high INR levels (tests showing how long it takes the blood to clot) and clear clinical signs of a spinal cord haematoma, with a neurological assessment highlighting reduced sensation and bilaterally cold legs, and later on, an inability to pass urine. An MRI scan revealed spinal fluid accumulation along the spine but the Trust failed to act swiftly to ensure Simon received urgent surgery to relieve the haematoma.

The delay in treatment allowed his spinal haematoma to go untreated, his neurological symptoms to worsen and his coagulation issues went unmanaged. Two days after his admission to hospital, Simon underwent spinal surgery to remove the spinal haematoma (a solid swelling of clotted blood). Unfortunately, he was left with lower limb paralysis and suffering bladder and associated dysfunction.

Simon underwent intensive rehabilitation and due to his determination to improve, made some recovery. The spinal cord injury had left him with a band of painful hypersensitivity around his chest extending down his legs triggering painful spasms and had to mobilise every hour to minimise them. He was unable to distinguish hot and cold due to his sensory injuries.

Despite his efforts to rehabilitate, Simon was retired on medical grounds due to his inability to safely mobilise around construction sites and operate manual vehicles.

Simon became depressed as a result of his injuries and its consequences. His marriage with Anna deteriorated and they eventually separated; his relationship with his daughter fell apart as he went from being a breadwinner and provider, to being taken care of by others. He remained friends with Anna and his step-daughter, but sadly, he took his own life in 2020.

Lindsay sought justice on behalf of Anna and Simon, highlighting the devastating consequences of medical negligence at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital that led to the Simon's spinal cord injury, severe depression and eventual suicide.

Evidence was obtained from experts in haematology, a physician and a consultant neurosurgeon, who were all critical of the Defendant's management. The claim was strongly contested by the Trust, which ultimately agreed to resolve the claim before serving its own expert evidence. The claim was ultimately settled after negotiations for a substantial 6 figure sum, which represented an award for Simon's pain and suffering before his death, his lost earnings, care, travel, aids, and reflected Anna's own claim for bereavement, funeral expenses and loss of dependency.

While no settlement can truly compensate for the family's immeasurable loss, the resolution of this case acknowledged the profound impact of the hospital's actions on Simon's life and the lives of those around him.

*name changed

Contact us

For further information about delayed treatment claims and medical negligence claims, please call Lindsay Holt on 03304606789 or email


All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win no fee. Find out more about no win no fee claims.

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Delayed Treatment Claims