Posted by Simon Elliman, Partner
Inadequate surgery recognised after six years
Our client, Mr S, suffered with a disc prolapse, meaning that the disc pressed on a nerve causing him significant pain in the lower half of his body. His surgery was performed by a part-time spinal surgeon who did not perform a full decompression because he was afraid to cause further damage.
Mr S’s condition continued to get worse after the surgery, and eventually he developed cauda equina syndrome and became confined to a wheelchair.
When Mr S filed a claim the doctors and defence medical experts accused the patient of making up his symptoms. It was not until six years later that the lead expert finally proved that the damage to Mr S’s health had been caused by the spinal surgery. The part-time spinal surgeon had failed to recognise that he had not removed enough disc material pressing on the patient’s spinal cord, so that pressure on the cord continued.
After he NHS Trust denied the liability, this one vital piece of expert evidence turned the case around. Gerry Ferguson, partner in our Clinical Negligence team with a special interest in spinal and cauda equine claims, secured a compensation of £300,000 net of benefits for Mr S.
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