Failure to diagnose spinal infection

Countess of Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

We inherited this claim from a non-specialist solicitor. It had been investigated as an alleged failure by the Claimant’s GP to refer him to hospital in relation to vertebral osteomyelitis, which eventually caused him to need radical spinal surgery and which left him with severe mobility problems and impotence. When unsupportive medical expert evidence was obtained, the previous solicitors referred the claim to us.

After investigating further with a GP expert, we took the view that this should be a claim against the hospital and instructed a general surgeon to consider the potential negligent failure to spot the infection in blood test results, which our client had whilst an inpatient for an unrelated condition. This evidence came back positive.

In addition and for the sake of completeness, we instructed an expert radiologist to review all the radiology in the case and he spotted the early appearances of the spinal infection on an abdominal CT and plain x-ray. Upon his advice we also alleged a failure on the part of the radiologist to draw this to the attention of the general surgeon or neurosurgeon.

The claim was issued at Court and proceedings served. Liability was denied and the matter proceeded and was fully prepared for trial.

An offer of settlement was made but rejected, however the case eventually settled at a round table meeting 6 months before trial for £400,000.00 which was more that had been anticipated.