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.
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.
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.