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Hospital failures leave lady permanently disabled

Rachel Baker, associate solicitor recovered £150,000 compensation for a hospital administrator who has been left with permanent pain and reduced mobility as a result of medical negligence.

At the beginning of 2013 Mrs L had surgery after being diagnosed with cancer in one of her kidneys. She made a good recovery and surgeons were confident they had removed all the cancer, so there was no need for follow-up radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

However, in August she started experiencing shooting pains in her legs. Assuming it was a trapped nerve, she carried on as normal.

Later that month, Mrs L went to hospital for what was just a routine follow-up CT scan. Unfortunately it showed that the cancer hadn’t been removed and had in fact spread to her spine and lungs.
She was referred to a specialist who scheduled two-part surgery to take place in early November.

Over the next few months, Mrs L experienced persistent problems and severe leg pain and developed cauda equine (a condition that affects the nerves at the base of the spine).

Towards the end of October the pain was so severe that she was taken to hospital. There she explained her medical history and the possible complications that she had been advised could occur. Despite this, she was prescribed Tramadol and discharged without further examination.

A few days before her planned surgery, Mrs L was once again admitted to hospital in acute pain. As on the previous occasion, she was prescribed further pain killers to tide her over until her surgery and discharged. As she got up to leave the examination room, one of her legs gave way underneath her and she fell to the floor. Still no action was taken.

By the time Mrs L was admitted for the planned surgery two days later, her symptoms had deteriorated significantly.

The hospital admitted that the treatment they had provided had fallen below a reasonable standard of care. Mrs L should have been admitted to hospital for further investigations which would have led to surgery taking place earlier.

As a result of the delay, Mrs L suffered a more prolonged rehabilitation period, additional pain and also suffered some mild neurological disturbance.

Rachel Baker commented on the case: “Mrs L now suffers persistent pain and weakness in both of her legs. Her mobility is reduced to the point that she needs to use a walking stick or a wheelchair when she is outside. She also has to self-catheterise each day and needs help with many routine daily tasks. Unfortunately, her symptoms and disability are permanent.”

As a direct result of the injuries, Mrs L has had stop working full-time and work part-time instead. She has had to make adjustments around her home and has had to buy an automatic car.

Mrs L commented: “The injuries have forced a complete change in my lifestyle and have significantly reduced my overall quality of life. From having a number of interests, I have found myself very limited in what I can do and, because of this I tend to dwell on my plight without the diversion of the activities I used to enjoy.”

Compensation totalling £150,000 was recovered in an out of court settlement.