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Woman left paraplegic following late diagnosis of spinal haematoma receives six-figure sum

A woman has received a six-figure sum following a clinical negligence claim against an osteopath.

Posted on 16 February 2021

A woman who suffered life-changing neurological injuries following late diagnosis of a spinal epidural haematoma has received a six-figure sum following a clinical negligence claim against an osteopath.

The woman, a designer who we have called Ms T, attended the osteopath’s clinic in April 2015, and received treatment for low back pain which included an osteopathic manipulation of her spine.

However, following treatment Ms T texted the osteopath to tell her that she was suffering, excruciating back pain, paralysis and numbness in her legs. Ms M was advised by her osteopath to take a hot bath and painkillers to help relieve her symptoms instead of seeking urgent medical care.

Mrs M symptoms improved but she continued to feel unwell and four days later, Ms T experienced more pain and numbness and was taken to A&E where an MRI scan revealed a haematoma within the spinal canal causing cord compression. Urgent surgery to remove the haematoma was performed.

After her surgery Ms T underwent extensive rehabilitation and has regained a limited ability to walk. However, as a result of her spinal cord injury, she has been left with permanent motor weakness in her legs, significant balance disturbance and impaired sensation in the lower body and perineum. Ms T remains doubly incontinent and suffers from sexual dysfunction.

She brought a legal case against the Defendant for failing to recognise the seriousness of Ms T’s symptoms which pointed to a potential serious neurological injury. If Ms T had been advised to seek urgent medical care, an MRI scan would have been ordered and the haematoma could have been diagnosed and removed earlier, before damage to the spinal nerves occurred.

Liability was denied throughout the case and the Defendant Insurer’s maintained that Ms T suffered a spontaneous epidural haematoma five days after the manipulation procedure.

However, shortly before the case was being prepared for trial, a substantial six-figure settlement was agreed.

Ms T said:

“The settlement has changed my life for the better. The damages has given me the opportunity to gain control over my life and choices again. A new beginning and for that I am grateful beyond explanation”.

Ms T was represented by Suzanne White and Firdous Ibrahim. They said:

“Our very brave client has endured a life changing injury which has not only impacted her physically but also emotionally. We are very satisfied that the settlement will help improve the quality of Ms T’s life.”

Leigh Day worked on the case with Henry Witcomb QC of One Crown Office Row Chambers.

Meet the legal team

Suzanne White

Suzanne White

Suzanne White is head of the medical negligence team and has specialised in this area of law since qualifying in 1999

Firdous Ibrahim
Amputation Birth injury Brain injury Cerebral palsy Spinal injury

Firdous Ibrahim

Firdous Ibrahim is a solicitor in the medical negligence department.

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