Our client had a fall, following which she started to develop pain in her left leg. About a month and a half later she attended her GP. An MRI was requested but did not take place until two months later, when she attended hospital. 10 days following her initial GP attendance, she returned to her GP with left hip and leg pain. An x-ray was undertaken but nothing unusual was reported.
About two months following her fall, our client called 999 complaining of numbness in her vagina and leg and was taken to Whipps Cross Hospital where she was streamed into the minor injuries department. Our client was in so much pain that she left and took a cab home.
A week later, our client started complaining of constipation in addition to backache and hip/leg pain. She also complained of urinary incontinence and vomiting. She was taken by ambulance to hospital, diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and discharged.
As her symptoms were not improving she again attended hospital some two weeks later, having been directly referred to the neurosurgeons by her GP. She was now complaining of pain in her back spreading to the lower limbs with numbness for some 9 weeks, associated with pains in her vagina, poor bowel control and urinary incontinence. An MRI scan was organised, the results of which were considered normal. She was discharged pending an outpatient neurology appointment.
Two days later, our client’s condition had still not improved; she was still incontinent of urine and vomiting. She also had difficulty walking. She was taken to hospital by ambulance and underwent a repeat MRI scan. She was kept in hospital for the following eleven days.
It is only when our client underwent a lumbar puncture ten days following her hospital admission that tuberculous arachnoiditis of the spine was diagnosed, by which time treatment would not lead to a full recovery.
Our client has been left with permanent complications in the form of a right foot drop and bowel and bladder dysfunction. She also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and depression. She had to secure new accommodation suited to her needs. She was on maternity leave at the time of the negligence, but was planning on returning to her teaching position at a senior school. Given the circumstances, she was unable to do so.
We obtained evidence from experts in Emergency Medicine, Orthopaedic Surgery, Neurology and Neurosurgery who confirmed that but for the negligent delay in diagnosis, our client would not have suffered from these permanent complications. Further expert evidence was obtained from a psychiatrist, an urogynaecologist, colorectal surgeon and care expert in order to value the claim.
After negotiations, we successfully obtained an out-of-court settlement of £750,000 to compensate our client.