Our client suffered a delayed diagnosis and treatment of his cauda equina syndrome. This is where the bundle of nerves at the end of the spine are damaged, which can result in paraplegia and other injuries such as bowel and bladder incontinence. The condition is considered a medical emergency and must be treated quickly to prevent damage being done.
Our client fell whilst working in his garage and an MRI scan taken a few days later revealed a fracture to his lumbar spine. The Defendant hospital failed to adequately monitor and treat his deteriorating condition including loss of sensation and strength in both legs. This was caused by a haematoma (collection of blood) as a result of the fracture pressing down on the nerves around the bottom of his spine.The matter was complicated by the fact that our client had a blood clotting problem so was on anti-coagulants, which effectively meant that there was more bleeding than normal and he should have been given medication to prevent excessive bleeding.
The haematoma was removed in an operation (laminectomy) but our client was left largely wheelchair bound. He suffered both a loss of bowel and bladder function and has to use a catheter. He also suffered from sexual dysfunction. He was unable to return to his former employment as a professional in the construction industry.
Breach of duty with regard to failure to note the condition, arrange for urgent investigations and therefore provide earlier treatment was admitted but the Defendant suggested that their delay did not result in injury. The matter was extensively litigated until near trial when a settlement was reached. Eight different experts were required to provide evidence for our client with multiple witnesses.
Cauda Equina cases are inherently difficult to litigate with regard to timing and establishing that the Defendant’s negligence resulted in a worse outcome. However a good offer was made at the settlement meeting in the months prior to trial and we were able to significantly increase the offer by nearly 40% through negotiation, resulting in a seven figure settlement.
Client’s comments on the claim: "When we first considered a claim against the health authority we were not confident of getting a result, let alone the level of damages actually realised. It is solely due to the efforts and tenacity of the Barlow Robbins team, particularly Victoria Jones and partner Caroline Flashman that we achieved this result.”
Counsel Angus McCullough QC’s comments on the claim: "A brilliant result, and a testament to Barlow Robbins’ tenacity in the negotiation……your careful, thorough preparation and conduct of the case will have been a major reason for the successful settlement.”
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