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Substantial compensation obtained in medical negligence claim for young girl with spinal injuries

The specialist medical negligence spinal injuries team at Leigh Day has obtained compensation for an eight-year-old girl who suffered serious injuries after a delay in diagnosis of a blood clot on her spine by doctors at two London teaching hospitals.

Spine MRI

6 October 2017

The very substantial compensation will pay for the adapted accommodation, treatments, therapies and aids she will require to manage her problems and fulfil her potential.
Russell Levy, head of clinical negligence at Leigh Day, settled the claim on behalf of the girl, M, who suffered neurological damage and very serious permanent injuries as a result of a delay in diagnosing and treating a blood clot on her spine when she was two years old.
As the blood clot grew it put pressure on M’s spine.  She suffered severe pain over three weeks during which she woke throughout the night screaming in pain. She became reluctant to walk and was unable to sit or stand for very long. Eventually M was unable to walk in a straight line.
During this period M’s mother took her to the GP and to the Paediatric A&E departments of Lewisham and King’s College hospitals. Lewisham Hospital x-rayed M and prescribed painkillers for her. King’s College Hospital prescribed painkillers and arranged a non-urgent MRI scan for a week later.
When M eventually had the MRI scan her spinal blood clot was immediately diagnosed. She was admitted to hospital and underwent emergency surgery.
M was diagnosed as paraplegic after her surgery. She was unable to move her legs for almost four weeks and unable to stand at all for six weeks. She was also unable to lift toys, grip small objects or sit up without full support.  However, following intensive physiotherapy M was able to walk with a standing frame and splints by the time she was discharged from hospital.
Although she has made good progress with her mobility, M sustained serious permanent life-changing injuries.  She is doubly incontinent, frequently trips, has some difficulties using her hands and suffers from problems with stamina and fatigue.  She requires a substantial amount of therapeutic input and treatment which her parents have found is not always available on the NHS or through her school.
The case that the legal team at Leigh Day pursued on behalf of M was that as she was suffering from unexplained and extreme pain she should have had an urgent MRI or CT scan when she first went to hospital. It was also contended that the scan would have revealed the spinal blood clot and would have led to earlier surgery and a complete recovery.
Following protracted negotiations very satisfactory settlement terms were agreed.  M received a lump sum of £1,450,000 and will also receive annual payments throughout her life. The hospitals also agreed to pay M’s legal costs.

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