Settlement following mismanagement of back pain and spinal surgery.
The claimant developed back pain that radiated to her right leg. She was referred for physiotherapy, which did not cure the pain, and was advised to take up Pilates.
Pain persisted and the claimant was referred for x-rays at one Hospital and then another, for further management. The x-rays included a spinal x-ray, that showed spondylolisthesis at L4/5, and the reports were forwarded to the orthopaedic team, but not reviewed.
The claimant was referred for an epidural injection. Following this, she was referred for an MRI scan. This led to a right facet joint injection and further lumbar epidural, neither of which did anything to cure the pain she was suffering. As a result, the claimant was referred to the pain clinic and a right sided L4 nerve block was performed which helped with the symptoms for a short period.
In December 2009, the claimant was forced to reduce her working hours, due to the pain she was in. In March 2010 an MRI was performed which showed, amongst other things, defects at L3 / L4 and bilateral pars defect at L4 / L5 with forward slip (spondylolisthesis).
On 20 January 2011, surgery was undertaken to repair pars defects at L3, L4 and L5 as opposed to a fusion procedure. After the surgery was performed, the claimant developed infection in the wound and had to undergo debridement and washout. This was unfortunately not sufficient and further surgery was undertaken for deep tension suture closure of her spinal wound. The claimant was finally discharged home on 28 February 2011.
Moore Blatch were instructed in this matter to bring a claim against the Hospital which we believed had been negligent in the following ways;
Failure to perform a standing film to identify the degree of slip.
Performing the wrong operation and negligently failing to perform the surgery that was undertaken to a competent standard.
Had the correct surgery been undertaken, the claimant would have had an 80-85% improvement in her level of symptoms.
A Letter of Claim was served on the Defendant Trust. The Trust made a partial admission of liability conceding that the surgery performed was inappropriate and did not address the true cause of the claimant’s symptoms. The Trust denied the other allegations.
After a lengthy delay the Defendant Trust made an offer which was accepted.
Denise Deakin had conduct of the claimant’s case. Denise is a barrister based in our Southampton office who is dual qualified having trained as a nurse prior to her legal practice. In relation to the case she said: “this was a difficult case where finding expertise in the specific area of medical practice involved was very tricky. However, we worked well with our client to ensure that the best and most supportive expert evidence was obtained and that a sum was settled upon that will allow her to continue her life with some degree of security, given that she has suffered so much in light of her injuries.”