The Claimant was 38 year old mother of four young children living at home. She had been to the Ealing hospital complaining of pain in her cervical spine and had been prescribed strong analgesic drugs.
On Friday 28 May 2010 the Claimant's symptoms were much worse. She was suffering from pain in her arms, with difficulty in gripping and holding a pen and signing her name. She also had impairment of bowels, cramping weakness, pins and needles in her legs and experienced electric shock symptoms in her body.
She attended her GP on an emergency appointment at around 12.00 noon complaining of this constellation of symptoms. We alleged on her behalf that the GP did not listen to her or examine her properly. She dismissed the Claimant's symptoms and prescribed a topical cream and refused a request for an MRI scan of her neck.
The symptoms worsened during the day. Terrified, the Claimant called the ambulance service in the early hours of Saturday 29 May who put her onto NHS Direct. The transcript of the telephone call corroborated the earlier complaints to the GP. However, the operator was unsympathetic and advised that she contact the out of hours GP service or she attend Ealing A&E under her own steam.
By now she could hardly walk but her husband took her to the A&E department by taxi where she was admitted at around 04.00.
Even then it took some time for the doctors to admit her to a ward and begin investigations. Meanwhile her condition was rapidly deteriorating. At around 9am the Claimant was referred to Charing Cross Hospital for the undertaking of an MRI scan of her neck. The MRI revealed an annular tear in her C6/7 disc. Urgent surgery was mandated.
At about 9pm an emergency anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at the level of the 6th and 7th cervical spinal vertebrae was carried out and shortly afterwards the Claimant was transferred to Stoke Mandeville Hospital for rehabilitation.
As a result of the tear (and the delay in diagnosis) she suffered a severe incomplete spastic quadraparesis. Given her poor state at the time of surgery she made remarkable recovery. However she remains in significant pain, was unable to mobilise outside the house without crutches and/or a wheelchair and was unable to climb stairs or look after her children in her former capacity.
Paul McNeil alleged on her behalf that with treatment 12 hours earlier she would have made a very good recovery so as to walk without a crutch, carry out normal activities of daily living and care for her children. She would have returned to work in some capacity. Her bowel and bladder control are both likely to have been much better.
Proceedings were issued on her behalf in March 2013 with a trial date fixed for November 2014. The main allegation of negligence was that with the constellation of symptoms complained of the GP should have referred her to the hospital urgently. The case was defended strenuously both on breach of duty of care and causation of injury. The defendant argued that even if we succeeded in showing that the Claimant should have been referred to hospital in the early afternoon a reasonable response time by the hospital doctors would not have allowed earlier intervention which would have made a difference to the outcome.
In September after lengthy negotiations a substantial sum was paid to the Claimant.
- You can speak to our clinical negligence solicitors on freephone 0800 358 3848
- e-Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Complete our short enquiry form
All enquiries are completely free of charge and we will investigate all funding options for you including no win, no fee.
Contact us on freephone 0800 358 3848
Or start your claim online.
"The group is praised for its commitment to 'demystifying the legal process' while this is a firm for which the client has always been a priority"
Charities we support
Personal injury team celebrates social hub for amputees and their families
Fieldfisher hosted the first informal central London meeting hub organised for amputees and their families in association with the Limbless Association (LA)
Further criticism of sub-standard care at Basildon Hospital following death of new-born
At the inquest into the death of a baby boy at Basildon Hospital last year, the coroner concluded that serious failings by staff contributed to the baby's death at one day old.
Jane Weakley welcomes CYRIL technology to test new-borns at risk of cerebral palsy
Researchers at University College London (UCL) have developed a non-invasive monitoring system, small enough to take into neonatal intensive care units, which shines infrared light into new-born babies' brains to detect possible brain damage within a few hours of birth.
Claire Horton comments on Countess of Chester hospital nurse arrest
Claire Horton comments on the distressing case of Lucy Letby, the nurse accused of murdering and attempting to murder babies and infants in the neo-natal unit of the Countess of Chester hospital between 2015 and 2016.
Simple scan to identify breech babies supported by partner Jane Weakley and senior midwife Charlene Francois
Proposals for coroners to investigate late-term stillbirths would provide relief to grieving families