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NHS payout after spinal surgery errors

Mother of two, Caroline Bielby, has received a five-figure settlement after a screw was incorrectly inserted during spinal surgery leaving her with permanent nerve damage.

What happened?

The 36-year-old began experiencing back pain whilst pregnant in 1999. Three years later she was referred for an MRI scan, and told that she had degeneration of the discs in here spine.

For eight years she had regular x-rays and MRI scans to monitor her condition, but by 2010 the pain had worsened and she underwent surgery in an attempt to repair her spine.

Though the surgery improved the pain almost immediately, she became aware of a sharp excruciating pain in her left leg and left big toe. However, she was told there was nothing to be concerned about.

Over the next 12 months Ms Bielby lost the feeling in her leg all the way up to two inches below her knee cap.
A CT scan and x-ray later identified that one screw, at a different angle to all of the others, had been rubbing away at the nerves and causing the pain and loss of feeling in her leg and foot.

She underwent further surgery to remove the screw in March 2012, but the damage to the nerve was irreversible.

What was the outcome?

Mrs Bielby received an undisclosed, five-figure settlement to cover her loss of earnings after being unable to return to work.

Her lawyer, Katie Warner, said:

“Caroline’s symptoms have affected her ability not only to work, but to
carry out her day-to-day life with her family and all of this
has had a significant impact on her confidence.

“The screw’s position was indicated on an x-ray taken just two days after the
initial surgery and because it wasn’t spotted and rectified for two years
it has now caused permanent damage to the nerves,
leaving Caroline suffering needlessly.

“We are pleased that the Trust admitted liability and the settlement reflects the
severity of Caroline’s condition and the impact it has had on her life.”

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email medicalnegligence@hampsonhughes.com

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