Woman awarded £1.3m after suffering spinal injuries in hospital

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Uncategorised on Thursday, August 14th, 2014

A 59-year-old woman has been awarded £1.3m compensation plus £199,750 a year for the rest of her life after receiving negligent treatment in hospital.

A 59-year-old woman has been awarded £1.3m compensation plus £199,750 a year for the rest of her life after receiving negligent treatment in hospital.

She had been injured in a road accident and was admitted to the hospital with a spinal injury. At the time she was able to move her arms and legs and had no damage to her brain.

The anaesthetic team noted that it would be difficult to use intubation to drain fluid from the woman’s body because of her shape.

They gave her 5mg of diamorphine. This caused her to suffer respiratory depression which meant she was breathing at a dangerously low rate.

They then gave her Naloxone which caused her blood pressure to fall. The team failed to inform the consultant anaesthetist of the developments.

Later that evening, the woman was transferred to the intensive care unit and needed help with her breathing on several occasions. The staff grade anaesthetist took advice from the consultant anaesthetist over the phone.

Following the advice, the staff grade anaesthetist used intubation to remove fluid from the woman’s body. It caused the woman’s heart rate to slow to a dangerous level. She had a heart attack and had to be resuscitated. However, her spinal cord was irreversibly damaged in the process.

The damage to the woman’s spinal cord caused her to suffer paralysis to her upper and lower limbs as well as her upper body. The condition was permanent and she would require full time care for the rest of her life.

She brought an action against the hospital saying medical staff had been negligent in using the intubation procedure.

The hospital disputed liability but agreed to an out-of-court settlement of £1.3m plus £199,750 per year to pay for the woman’s carers.

David Kerry, Senior Partner and Head of Medical Negligence Department at Attwaters Jameson Hill said: “This lady had already suffered serious injuries when she was admitted to hospital. Unfortunately, due to lack of communication, hospital staff made her injuries far worse.

“The compensation may seem like a lot of money but it will be needed to pay for professional carers to look after her for the rest of her life.”

Please contact us if you believe you, or someone close to you, has been affected by medical negligence.

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