Clinical Negligence

Compensation for succession of failures after spinal cancer surgery

Jonathan Herbert, specialist clinical negligence lawyer acting for the claimant successfully obtained an out of court settlement of £180,000 to compensate the claimant for his pain and suffering associated care and assistance needs.

Mr D was referred to hospital because of worsening back pain.  He was diagnosed with sacral chordoma, a slow growing tumour and a serious medical condition.  He underwent surgery to remove the tumour and was advised that he had a low risk of recurrence.  Thereafter he made a slow recovery, with considerable pain and some complications (including faecal incontinence and bladder dysfunction).  He later underwent surgery to insert a temporary spinal nerve stimulator to alleviate his chronic pain.  Regular surveillance by way of MRI scans took place but some failed to visualise the area where a recurrence was likely to occur (the surgical resection region).  Certain other MRI scans were all incorrectly reported as showing no recurrence.  As a result of these failures, there was a two year delay in making a diagnosis of recurrence and referring Mr D back for surgery.  Mr D had to undergo surgery more extensive surgery (excision of bone and excision of the sacro-iliac joint as opposed to surgery only to soft tissue) as would have been the case with earlier diagnosis and treatment.  It was alleged on behalf of Mr D that caused him to suffer in particular:

  • Worse bladder incontinence
  • An inability to evacuate his bowels naturally; he became reliant on manual evacuation or an irrigation system having lost all sensation around his rectum
  • Worse chronic pain, in his sacrum, lumbar spine, left leg and groin
  • Lost relief of his groin pain which the spinal cord stimulator provided, as this was removed (with earlier surgery, this could have been refitted).

Breach of duty was admitted and Mr D received an apology but causation was denied.  However, the defendant engaged in settlement negotiations that resulted in a settlement of the claim.

Jonathan Herbert specialises in orthopaedic cases.  If you would like to ask Jonathan a question about a potential case, or if you have a general query about any personal injury, contact him at Thomson Snell & Passmore solicitors on 01892 701226 in confidence.

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