Spinal Cord Injury - Case Study

17 August 2017

We represented our client in respect of a delay in diagnosis of compression of his spinal cord, leading to paraplegia. Following a fall, our client developed back pain and shooting pain down his legs. He then developed numbness and weakness in his left hand and had to rely on a walking stick and then crutches to walk. The claim was complicated by the fact that he had a history of chronic low back pain and leg pain due to extensive arthritis. His GP referred him for physiotherapy. He was also reviewed by orthopaedics where his legs were examined and were found to be normal. A diagnosis of arthritis was again suggested. No further investigations were advised. He then found he was having to use a wheelchair to mobilise and he was unable to drive.

He therefore returned to see his GP and was referred for a full body MRI scan. The MRI scan revealed that he had osteoarthritis in his neck causing spinal compression. Surgery was then urgently arranged. Post surgery however he remained wheelchair bound and suffered from urinary incontinence. His left arm was nearly paralysed and he couldn’t move his left hand. He had to have carers visit him four times a day. Adaptations were carried out to his home, including hand rails and a wet room.

Following extensive investigations into liability, a claim was brought against two defendant hospital trusts in respect of the treatment received by the physiotherapist and the orthopaedic team. Liability was admitted by one defendant but not the other.Unfortunately the client passed away just after proceedings were issued and so the claim was then brought on behalf of his estate. It was argued that the Defendants’ negligence may even have contributed to his death. Negotiations ensued and an appropriate settlement was achieved at an early stage of the litigation.

The claim was particularly complex in respect of establishing liability. Several different Defendants had to be considered. This case was also taken over from other solicitors who did not consider the case to have merits- however we were able to obtain an admission of liability and secure a significant sum in compensation for our client.

"I found the service provided by Barlow Robbins was one of a professional and very high standard. I was continuously kept informed of the progress of the case until closure. Overall, I was completely satisfied of the service and overall process. Barlow Robbins LLP are a truly professional firm from start to finish."

By Victoria Jones

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