Negligent management of spinal inflammation condition

The Claimant suffered with ankylosing spondylitis. He fell at home in suffering a fracture of his cervical spine across the C6/C7 space. The Claimant was admitted to hospital where halo traction was applied. The effect of the halo traction was to cause the Claimant’s cervical spine fracture to distract and angulate. The Claimant was seen by a Consultant Neurosurgeon at his bedside who proceeded to carry out a manual manipulation of the cervical spine prior to surgical reduction and fusion. During the course of the manual manipulation the Claimant suffered severe and significant neurological deterioration.

He was taken as an emergency to theatre where posterior cervical fixation and fusion was carried out. There was no recovery of neurological function following the operation. The Claimant remained a C6 incomplete tetraplegic with no motor function before the level of his injury. Further, when he awoke from his surgery, he was blind in his left eye.

Evidence was obtained from a Consultant in Spinal Surgery and a Consultant Neurosurgeon. The claim was initially defended by the NHS Trust but was admitted after exchange of expert evidence and before the experts met. The Claimant’s claim was successfully settled for a substantial lump sum and annual periodical payments.

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