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  • Overview

    Fiona Mills, specialist clinical negligence lawyer based at Thomson Snell & Passmore’s Tunbridge Wells and Dartford (Thames Gateway) Offices, has secured £350,000 for a claimant who suffered paraplegia and had to re-learn to walk after an anaesthetist damaged his spine with an epidural needle.

    The Claimant in this matter was a 25 year old man who suffered from Crohn’s disease. He was admitted to the Lister Hospital, Stevenage with severe abdominal pain and rectal bleeding and it was decided that he should undergo a total colectomy.

    The night before his surgery the Claimant was consented regarding the risks and benefits of the surgery. However, the surgeon did not cover post-administration by epidural, and so the Claimant was not warned of the risks of the epidural procedure.

    On the day of the surgery, a trainee anaesthetist attempted to insert an epidural needle into the Claimant's spine three times; these were unsuccessful.

    The consultant anaesthetist was asked to assist and he continued attempts to site the epidural needle in the Claimant's spine. The Claimant asked him to stop inserting the needle but the anaesthetist did not stop the procedure.

    Following this procedure the Claimant was unable to move his legs and it was found that, whilst the anaesthetists had been attempting to insert the needle into his spine, his spinal cord had been damaged.

    The Claimant underwent intensive physiotherapy and had to re-learn how to walk. For some time he needed to walk with a frame and an ankle foot orthosis to prevent his left foot dragging. Although he had made a partial recovery and no longer required a walking aid, he still had a partial paraplegia which effected a power sensation and sexual function. He had no temperature sensation in his right leg below the knee.

    His left leg was worse; he had pain in the leg and foot whenever he walked more than 200meters. The leg dragged when he walked, shook and twitched unpredictably, particularly when he was tired and when he was standing for a long time. There was significant damage to the Claimant's sexual function and he suffered psychiatric damage as a result of the negligence.

    Subsequently the Claimant developed further difficulty with his left knee and had several falls with significant pain. He required surgery to the knee which had an affect on his already difficult working situation.

    Prior to the negligence the Claimant had worked as a painter and decorator but had to re-train after the negligence as he was no longer able to use ladders. He trained to become an Energy Assessor. Unfortunately the economic climate took a downturn and the Claimant was unable to find sufficient work to sustain the his self employed status as an Energy Assessor.

    We were able to obtain a settlement of £350,000 for the Claimant, to compensate him for his pain and suffering, as well as his loss of earnings, and to facilitate any treatment he may require in the future.

    Fiona Mills specialises in epidural negligence cases. If you would like to ask Fiona a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any clinical negligence, contact her on 01892 701286 in confidence.

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Jargon Buster