Multi-million pound settlement resulting from spinal and brain injury

We secured a £4m settlement for our client who developed spinal and brain injury following negligent care.

The Case
Our 55-year old client underwent a procedure to fix a cervical spinal cord compression that he had had since he was a child, and which was causing a progressive myelopathy and weakness in his upper and lower limbs.

A couple of days after the operation, he developed a mild upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage, for which it was decided that he needed a gastroscopy (OGD).  He was transferred to the endoscopy suite and was given 92mgs of midazolam while he was in the Intensive Care Unit prior to his OGD procedure. 

Upon returning to the ward after the operation he complained of shortness of breath, had an oxygen saturation of 80% and then suffered a respiratory arrest.  He was resuscitated successfully, ventilated by a mask and prescribed flumazenil to reverse the effects of the midazolam.   However, later that evening his oxygen saturations fell to 88% and he suffered a heart attack, from which he was again resuscitated.

As a result of the second arrest he suffered a prolonged period of anoxic damage to his brain, which resulted in Lance-Adams’ Syndrome and means he is now dependent upon 24 hour care. He suffers with mild limb weakness and spends all of his time in bed or in a wheelchair. He is able to move his legs but has no useful upper limb function and cannot stand or sit unsupported on the side of his bed, dependent instead on a mobile hoist.

The anoxia led to neuropathic bladder dysfunction affecting the storage and emptying of urine.  He is unable to feed himself and is fed by a tube, while he also has severe dysarthria which affects all levels of communication with his family, friends and support workers. 

Despite his disabilities, he can make his wishes known, has insight into his condition and is able to manage his own affairs. His case is that he did not need the OGD procedure and that, if he did need it, he should not have been sedated with midazolam given the cumulative dose that he had had in the previous week or so. He believed that if he had not been sedated he would not have suffered either arrest. 

In addition, he alleged that he was not cared for in an appropriate high care area following the OGD and his first respiratory arrest and that, if he had been monitored in such an area, his respiratory arrests would have been detected and would have been appropriately managed.

The outcome
After lengthy discussions the Defendant Trust admitted liability a month before trial and agreed to pay our client £1.69m, as well as £224,000 every year for the rest of his life.  The lump sum settlement was calculated to be £4,348,880.

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Client Case Studies

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