Spinal surgery case study

15 September 2014

Our client, Katrina (the Claimant), underwent decompression surgery on her back, in light of her ongoing back and leg pain. During the operation it was noted that one of the screws used to stabilise the spine was misplaced.

Following the operation Katrina had significantly increased pain and weakness in her right leg. She informed the doctor and nurses about this and they told her they would expect she would get better after a few days. After her discharge from hospital four days later, Katrina was in a bad state and more or less confined to a wheelchair. She could not walk any distance and could not drive. She required a great deal of assistance from her parents and a care agency.

Katrina subsequently had a CT scan which was reported as showing the screw was in the spinal canal and likely to be impinging on the nerve root. The screw was subsequently removed following a further operation, and after this her leg pain improved.

We were able to successfully argue that the screw should have been re-positioned or removed in the initial surgery; as this was not done, Katrina continued to have ongoing leg pain and had to undergo further major surgery to remove the screw. Although liability was denied throughout the case, we were nevertheless able to secure a five figure sum in compensation for Katrina.