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David Simpson Partner Coles Miller

Coles Miller Secures £825,000 Compensation For Cauda Equina Victims23rd Nov 2015

by on 23rd Nov 2015


Coles Miller medical negligence solicitors have secured compensation totalling £825,000 for two patients left with permanent disabling symptoms restricting mobility because of alleged failings by two GPs and two NHS Trusts.cauda equina compensation claims solicitor David Simpson

Both victims suffered from the relatively rare condition of Cauda Equina Syndrome and sustained irreversible nerve damage because of alleged failures to diagnose the condition and treat them in time.

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Cauda Equina Syndrome is a crippling back condition affecting the nerve roots of the spinal canal. ‘Red flag’ warning signs of Cauda Equina include:

  • lower back pain
  • pins and needles in both legs
  • difficulty in urination
  • bowel disturbance
  • saddle numbness.

Such symptoms require an immediate referral to neurosurgical consultants for an urgent same-day MRI scan and necessary decompression surgery within 24-48 hours. Delays can be catastrophic - involving irreversible bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction and lower limb weakness.

Coles Miller Partner David Simpson (head of the firm’s Clinical Negligence Department) and Barrister Hamish Dunlop of 3 Paper Buildings secured out-of-court settlements for the two clients:

  • A 49-year-old senior recruitment manager who experienced back pain while on holiday in Ibiza agreed to a £600,000 settlement from Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. She alleged that clinicians failed to analyse adequately an MRI scan she underwent on her return to the UK and failed to transfer her for urgent assessment or emergency surgery. She lost her employment and has been left with greatly restricted mobility plus other associated symptoms including pain and depression.
  • A 54-year-old Dorset HGV driver who was injured after trying to reposition a load that had slipped on his lorry agreed to a £225,000 settlement. He alleged that two Dorset GPs failed to identify his rapidly advancing neurological symptoms in time and failed to refer him for prompt emergency treatment. He also lost his employment and has very limited mobility requiring shin splints. He walks with the aid of elbow crutches.

David Simpson said: “In both cases, the patients’ lives have been irreversibly changed for the worse as a result of failings by the NHS. Each has suffered a significant and permanent reduction in their quality of life.

“The compensation that each has been paid will help with their ongoing treatment and care. By using alternative dispute resolution, we were able to help both clients to secure settlements more quickly - without the need for potentially time consuming and expensive court proceedings.”

Mr Simpson paid tribute to Mr Dunlop: “His involvement was pivotal to the success of both cases. His eye for detail and his ability to correlate extensive medical records and complex expert medical evidence was key.

“I should also like to praise Mr Nicholas Todd, Consultant Neurosurgeon and Spinal Surgeon, whom I consider to be the leading expert in this field.”

Mr Dunlop said: “David’s preparation is consistently thorough. He provides realistic advice to his clients in a sympathetic manner and engages robustly with his opponents. He is particularly effective in bringing depth of knowledge and experience to Cauda Equina cases, being one of his specialist areas.”

In October Coles Miller was named in the Legal 500 guide to Britain’s top lawyers for its expertise in medical negligence and personal injury cases.

Coles Miller is one of only two Dorset law firms listed in the Legal 500 for its specialist expertise in clinical negligence claimant cases.

For more information on claiming compensation for medical negligence, please contact Coles Miller Partner David Simpson, 01202 355695.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.