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Spinal Surgery Compensation Case Study

05 September 2014

The Claimant’s claim against the Defendant arose out of an operation for degenerative lumbar spine disease on 17th February 2010.  The Claimant sustained a blunt injury to his left L5 and S1 nerve roots in the course of the operation on 17th February 2010. As a result of this injury to the left L5 and S1 nerve roots, the Claimant suffered weakness and painful sensory disturbance in the left lower limb that pervaded many aspects of his personal life and his work. 

The allegations of medical negligence included an allegation that the surgeon used an osteotome (a type of chisel) to remove a fragment of bone from near a nerve root, causing injury when contact was made. The Claimant alleged that the surgeon should not have used this implement and should have used a high speed drill and / or rongeurs (a type of forceps) for the procedure.

An expert consultant spinal surgeon was instructed to examine and report upon the Claimant’s injuries sustained. A Letter of Claim was prepared and served upon the Defendant. Mr T a consultant neurosurgeon and spinal surgeon, was then instructed to examine and report upon the Claimant’s negligent care and subsequently experts were instructed to prepare care reports.

On 20th December 2012 the Defendant denied liability. Thereafter a pain management expert, Dr S, and Dr M, a diabetologist, were instructed to examine and report upon the Claimant.

A detailed Schedule of Loss was then drafted and subsequently the Claimant underwent an MRI scan as recommended by Mr H. The Defendant then filed an Acknowledgement of Service confirming their intention to defend the medical negligence claim and subsequently filed the Defence within which liability was denied.

Counsel then considered the Defence and provided comments thereon and thereafter Allocation Questionnaires were prepared and filed.

On 2nd April 2014 the Defendant made a very substantial six figure offer which was rejected. In light of the Defendant’s offer made, a conference with Counsel took place and was attended by Mr H, Dr M and others.

Following the conference with Counsel negotiations again ensued and on 29th April 2014 a further increased offer of compensation was made by the Defendant and this was accepted by the Claimant.

James Bell is a Medical Negligence Lawyer at Slater and Gordon in London.

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