[2007] LTLPI 19.11.08  

Claimant underwent hip replacement at private hospital. She complained of increased loss of power and sensation in legs after spinal epidural cannula removed two days later. Input of the Defendant anaesthetist was sought, by telephone twice, over a five-hour period in the night. He gave reassurance that symptoms were simply the residual effects of the operation. An MRI scan the next day revealed spinal epidural haematoma.  

Spinal surgeon did not offer decompression surgery believing it only offered a small chance of recovery. However due to deterioration of her neurological status, the operation was carried out the next day. Defendant admitted liability in relation to the second telephone call but required the Claimant to prove that the decompression surgery should have been performed within the limited time frame associated with effective recovery. Further, Defendant contended severe weather conditions would have impeded transfer to NHS hospital for “out of hours” MRI and surgery. Claimant accepted she would have had some weakness in one leg and it was agreed recovery would have been partial in any event.  

Out of court settlement: £325,000 (estimated General Damages £65,000).