Former carer wins legal battle over paralysis

A grandfather has won a legal battle following an epidural, which he requested not to have, was used and caused enough damage that he was left paralysed from the hip down.

The risks of an epidural injection Medical negligence claim made by carer suffering paralysis after epidural

Irreparable Damage

In 2010, Stephen Olney was admitted into hospital for a routine surgery. He asked not to be given an epidural injection as part of the operation when given the choice, in full knowledge of the risks associated with having one.

As a carer for over 35 years to people with spinal injuries, he had expert insight into the effects of failed epidurals in some of his charges. However, the doctors that performed the surgery decided to go against his wishes and sanctioned an injection which ultimately proved life changing.

Following surgery, he was not properly monitored and the damage escalated when his blood pressure dropped low enough that the blood flow to his spinal cord was deprived. This resulted in paralysis from the hip down and the damage was only spotted two days later, at which point he had an MRI scan and was told he would never walk again.

 

Medical Negligence Costs Lives

Although there are huge positives to having an epidural there are also risks. Perhaps the biggest risk factor with these procedures is what can happen after an operation. As evidenced by Mr Olney, not being monitored is what did the damage.

Doctors will do what they feel is best for a patient, but their judgement is not 100% accurate. Mr Olney’s case is by no means a one off and through our many years within the personal injury profession, we have handled many negligence cases that have carried the same kind of life changing repercussions as his.

Medical negligence is more likely to involve serious injuries given the circumstances surrounding them. Prescribing the wrong medicine can lead to negative side effects, bodily reactions and in the most severe circumstances, fatalities. A wrong move during an operation could see patients slashed or cut, again potentially causing major problems depending on the area of the body affected.

Epidural injection diagram - Sincere Law

 

Compensation isn’t a “Replacement”

Mr Olney’s case was settled at £2 million. It would be easy to mistake this as a  life changing figure, however, unfortunately for Mr Olney, no amount of money could replace the loss of use he is suffering in his lower body.

This is the toll often taken by serious injury sufferers. Compensation can offset new costs and treatment required post surgery, but it can only go some way towards resetting the sufferer’s life to how it was.

However, Mr Olney did admit that “What it can do is make life easier after the event”. The aim of compensation in serious injury cases is to financially secure an injured person’s life, dependant on circumstances. Paralysis for example could affect:

  • Working life (I.E Forcing retraining or retirement)
  • Physical Wellbeing (Could require physio or ongoing treatment)
  • Emotional wellbeing (Could require counselling)
  • Family Support (The injured person could be the main income earner)

In medical negligence cases of this nature, we often put together a specialist team together, who are responsible for planning and providing support for the victim and their families. The design behind this is to help try to rebuild a heavily altered life, as would be the case for Mr Olney. We would do this by supporting him and his family with alterations around the home, limiting the affect on them financially and ensuring they have access to the right level of care and support throughout the claim process and beyond.

For free advice on how we can help victim’s who have suffered an injury because of medical negligence, talk to one of our advisers today by calling 0800 092 2896. You can also get in touch via our contact page.

 

“Family First” Campaign Launched To Fight Brain Injuries

The National Lottery has begun funding a brand new campaign, designed to help families living with children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Championed in Northern Ireland to support 50 families and even more children, the scheme could benefit the rest of the UK in the future,  if and when it is rolled out further.

Brain Injury campaign funded by national lottery

Five Year Plan

Family First is one of five projects launched at once, with an overall fund of £3.3 million going towards good causes. Living with acquired brain injury can be a full time job for families when the injury involved one of their children. Charities, along with existing government funding, can help alleviate some of the pressure on those families, but sometimes it just isn’t enough.

The £700,000 scheme, which is set to run over five  years, is initially being launched in Northern Ireland. It is hoped that the scheme will help around 50 families to provide a good level of care and a happy life for their affected children, as well as assist the families also.

As the Family First scheme is lottery funded, it is hoped that the scheme may be rolled out further, across the UK in the future, especially if the pilot and initial £700,000 investment, proves to be a useful injection into the care of those in need.

What lottery funding does for us

1,000 Potential Beneficiaries

Up to 1,000 children are set to be helped in some way, as part of the funding, as they receive valuable support wtih care costs, advice, counselling and medical assistance.

The mother of one child involved was full of praise for the scheme and funding, stating “Family First has been so fantastic. You feel they really understand what it’s like for you and they’ll go the extra mile to provide support. It’s made such a difference. I can’t thank them enough.”

The Chief Executive of prominent brain injury charity “Brain Injury Matters” Fiona McCabe, commented on the toll that an acquired brain injury can take on affected families, saying:

Families need the right support as without it they can fall apart. Parents may feel guilt and blame themselves for their child’s brain injury. Because there is understandably focus on the child with the acquired brain injury, their brother and sisters may feel confused and excluded. All this puts pressure on the family unit and can make the child’s rehabilitation all the more difficult.”

The new scheme will help alleviate a lot of that pressure on connected family members and help keep the lives of all affected as positive as possible. For more on acquired brain injuries and their effects, take a look at what we can do for acquired brain injury victims when they are caused by serious negligence.

Sincere Law specialises in brain injury assistance from acquired to traumatic, axial to diffuse. These injuries often require extensive assistance over a long time (something we are experienced in providing). For more news on developments for brain injury suffers and the serious injury sector, visit our blog.

 

Brain Injuries Cost UK £15 Billion Per Year

Research by the Centre for Mental Health recently revealed that traumatic brain injuries (TBI) will cost the UK up to £15 billion per year (not including other brain injury types). With that figure so high, is it worth placing more research into dealing with traumatic brain injury in the short term?

Serious brain injury claims

TBI & the Justice System

One of the biggest dangers facing those with traumatic brain injury is the possibility of coming into contact with the justice system. Up to 60% of offenders have suffered TBI before they were arrested. This statistic strengthens the link between brain injuries and criminal activity. While this link is more prominent in children with traumatic injuries heading into adulthood, it can still affect an adult mind.

Of course, not all traumatic brain injuries would cause a person to commit crime, but the impairment one causes to somebody can often affect judgement and emotions. When this happens and a sufferer finds their judgement affected, the cost of taking care of them can spiral. This is because they could require assistance from a designated carer, or may suffer cognitive problems, meaning that they can no longer work. For anybody who suffers a traumatic brain injury and commits a criminal offence, it can be a difficult task to educate them on why their behaviour is not appropriate.

Regardless of whether a traumatic injury sufferer offends as a result of impaired judgement or not, the effect of a “mild” or “severe” traumatic brain injury can lead to challenging consequences on their family when it comes to taking care of them in the future. These tend to be even worse if the person suffers the injury early on in life.

 

 

Lifetime Care

Research has suggested that a traumatic brain injury can have several very negative effects on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. These may all require some form of aid to adapt to and live with.

Statistics show a traumatic brain injury can:

  • Double risk of mental illness development
  • Increase risk of earlier death
  • Increase risk of future offending

The cost of care in the UK for traumatic brain injuries is staggering. Each year around 160,000 people are admitted to hospital with traumatic brain injuries. 1.3 million people who suffer from traumatic brain injuries, live with disabilities as a result. Overall these cost £15 billion to help assist and treat the victim. A large proportion of those affected are children, whose bodies are not fully developed and so run a much higher risk of severe damage when struck in the skull. Should a child suffer a traumatic brain injury, the chances are they will require some level of care or assistance throughout life.

 

Strong Support

Numerous charities are available to help deal with the deficit in funding by the government. Some of the front runners for this include Headway, BASIC and the National Brain Appeal. Charity work forms a large base of support and care for victims and families. However, when an injury does occur, a family may often need support further than what is available through charity funding or via national services. This is where the victim of a traumatic brain injury whose injury was caused by somebody else’ negligence, can seek the help of a solicitor such as ourselves.

When we take on cases for serious injuries, such as a traumatic brain injury, we prioritise the victim’s care. To do this we form what is known as a “crisis team”, which is made up of people who specialise in the treatment of the injury suffered.

Once our crisis team is formed, we are able to plan and carry out a course of treatment and support for as long as required, with the prime focus being to provide them with the best quality of life possible within their circumstances. This includes providing them with the opportunity to get an education, enjoy leisure time and, where possible, to develop skills that will help them into employment..

If somebody close to you has experienced a traumatic brain injury or a head injury of any kind then you can talk to one of our team in confidentiality to find out more about what help and support is available to you.

We are contactable on 0800 092 2896 every week day or if you prefer we have a contact form you can fill in here.

 

500 Injured in UK theme Parks in 2015/16

Statistics have emerged indicating that the UK currently holds a particularly dismal record of safety at it’s theme and amusement parks. The new figures reveal that over 500 people per year suffer injuries from malfunctioning rides leading to us to ask, is it time for the government to look into the safety records and regulations of UK parks to ensure this number drops?

 

Two major incidents

Over the last 12 months, Sincere Law has commented on two serious incidents in two UK theme parks. Last year, it was well documented the extent of the injuries suffered by those on board The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers, when it malfunctioned and crashed, causing multiple passengers to require amputations. More recently a crash at M&D’s theme park in Scotland occurred when a car derailed causing multiple injuries to passengers which included children, many of them being kept in hospital for weeks.

In both cases, park officials were adamant that the safety standards were being adhered to and that they were freak accidents. These, plus a host of other injuries at local funfairs reported in the last 12 months, has in total led to 500 injury cases in the UK. This is up from a reported 489 in the 2014/15 season (of which around 120 were serious enough to require an investigation).

The Smiler ride required multiple riders to have amputation injuries

 

Tighter legislation?

Given the potential risks of injury (particularly among the larger rollercoasters and thrill rides) to those on board, the statistics create a worrying picture. Ideally the UK would like to have a zero injury rate but with increasing numbers year-on -year, could beg the question “do we need tighter health and safety regulation on theme parks?”.

Doing so could be problematic when dealing with small, travelling funfairs. This is because the owners of these can attempt to avoid investigation and fines easier than the static theme parks like Alton Towers, Thorpe Park or M&D’s. There is also the fact that theme parks are already subject to stringent health and safety laws.

Sincere Law’s Head of Catastrophic Injury, Chris Walker, believes that it is the tightening of safety laws AND the management of staff that could be the key to lowering the number of injured.

He pointed out that a lot of injuries are the result of faults not being picked up when checking a ride.

“Many injuries sustained at theme parks are often due to mistakes made when inspecting rides. This element of human error is the biggest risk when it comes to safety in theme parks. To lower the number of injured each year, there must be safeguards in place to hold people accountable for not carrying out proper checks and also ensure that these errors do not happen in the first place”.

Theme park accidents can cause a host of serious injuries

Will theme parks learn the lessons of the past few years and combat the rising number of injured in the 2016/17 season? Only time will tell.

Having dealt with clients facing this situation previously, Sincere Law can ensure that, in the instance that you or someone close to you suffers a serious injury at a theme park, you will receive the right level of support and care you need to recover.

For more information or to get some free advice without obligation call us today on 0800 092 2896 (lines are open from 9am to 7pm).

Alternatively you can get I touch using our contact form or arrange a for us to call you at a more convenient time using our request a callback feature.