Settlement against GPs for boy with spinal cyst left quadriplegic after surgery | Fieldfisher
Skip to main content
Case Study

Settlement against GPs for boy with spinal cyst left quadriplegic after surgery

Two GPs in Surrey have admitted liability for failing to refer a young boy aged 20 months with a spinal cyst for appropriate hospital treatment, which, if given, would have prevented his profound disability.

Despite repeatedly attending his GP when he was clearly very unwell, the boy, now six years old, was only eventually admitted as an emergency to St George's Hospital, London on 15 August 2016 where he underwent surgery that left him left him quadriplegic with additional life-threatening medical complications resulting in severe incapacity.

Jane Weakley's case on behalf of the boy was that if his GP had referred him for treatment earlier, his cyst would have been diagnosed earlier following an MRI and there would have been immediate decompression surgery. GP notes at one of the appointments clearly identified he had problems lying flat and walking, specifically “not seen walking today – too upset”.

The delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment of the cyst meant he suffered catastrophic spinal injury from which he will not recover.

Expert paediatricians on the case agreed that if a referral had been made between 9th-11th August, the boy would have been seen the same day or the next day. Neurosurgeons agreed that would have led to surgery in time to prevent any significant long-term injury.

Eighty-five percent of damages will be assessed following approval to provide the appropriate care and support including educational needs for the boy who lives with his parents and is protected by an anonymity order.

The boy's mother, who gave up work to care for her son, said:

"We will never be able to change what has happened, or replace the time that our son and family have lost.

"No amount of time or money will replace this terrible life-changing event, but knowing that our son will have access to all the care and therapies needed to slow down medical complications brings us some comfort and reassurance for his future and that he will live a life he truly deserves.

"We want to thank everyone from the legal team who believed in us, supported us every step of the way, always with such great care and consideration.”

The boy's father said:

"We always knew there had been failings with our son's diagnosis, but it wasn’t until we consulted the Fieldfisher team that we understood the gravity of what had occurred.

"We never dreamt of such a positive outcome. We take solace knowing that we did all we possibly could to get him a diagnosis.

"Fieldfisher completed our case with a personable, empathic and professional nature. Without the continuous support of Jane Weakley and her team, I’m not sure we’d have had the energy to get through such a complex case."

Contact us

For further information about GP negligence claims, please call Jane Weakley on 0330 460 6773 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.

Sign up to our email digest

Click to subscribe or manage your email preferences.