In June 1997 Diana attended her GP complaining of backache and right sided sciatica. She was prescribed pain killers and four weeks later still in the same condition was referred to hospital.
Diana was seen by the consultant on an urgent basis. A similar history was recorded and the doctor ordered a bone scan to “exclude malignancy”. He did not order an MRI scan.
Diana was further reviewed on 1 October 1997 by another doctor who did recommend an MRI scan. This recommendation was overruled by the consultant and she was referred for pain management.
Diana was not seen by a consultant orthopaedic surgeon for the next two years even though she continued to have very significant back pain and had not been given a diagnosis.
On 7 November 2000, an MRI scan was finally requested. This revealed that Diana had an ependymoma (a tumour of the spine).
Diana was referred urgently to another hospital for neurosurgery to remove the tumour. Her spinal cord was damaged during the surgery and Diana was left with significant dysfunction.
Diana now walks with a limp and needs calipers to walk. She has continuous pain in her right foot and leg and finds it difficult to stand for long periods of time.
For a time after the surgery Diana was also incontinent of urine and required the use of a catheter several times a day.
She was unable to enjoy her previous activities of gardening, going on holiday by caravan or playing with her grandchildren.
The defendants denied liability on the grounds that it was correct not to order an MRI scan given the symptoms that Diana suffered from at that time.
Proceedings were issued on Diana’s behalf by Paul McNeil, who acted on a no win no fee basis.
A few weeks before the trial, negotiations were instigated and the case settled for £225,000, which Diana was happy to accept.
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