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Home > News > Widow receives medical negligence compensation after husband’s fatal discectomy surgery

14th May 2012

Widow receives medical negligence compensation after husband’s fatal discectomy surgery

Our specialist medical negligence lawyers recently acted for the widow of a man who tragically passed away during a discectomy - an operation on the spine to relieve pressure on the spinal cord.

The insurers for the defendant refused to negotiate an acceptable settlement and we were forced to issue court proceedings. However, we continued to negotiate and fight for the just compensation for our client’s loss and, before the trial date, were able to secure a substantial sum in medical negligence compensation.

Whilst this in no way compensates for the loss of her husband, it will ensure our client does not have the additional financial worry of a future without her partner.

Back pain in lower back

A keen cyclist, the deceased had sought advice from his GP when he started to suffer pain in his lower back. Investigations, including MRI scans, were undertaken and revealed one of his discs was pressing against a nerve root, causing him pain.

He was referred by his GP to the defendant's hospital with a complaint of right-sided sciatic pain. He underwent the spinal operation to release the pressure on his nerve root, a procedure that was initially successful, and he was discharged shortly afterwards.

However, he suffered a further disc prolapse and so a second operation was necessary.

Negligent standard of care during surgery

The compensation claim was brought under the provisions of the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, as amended, and alleged that the surgeon was negligent in the standard of care provided during the procedure. There was also a delay in identifying the source of the bleeding and the cause of his sudden fall in cardiac output and blood pressure. Despite efforts to resuscitate him, our client‘s husband died in the operating theatre.

Surgical procedure questioned

The technique used by the surgeon was one that involved “feeling” for resistance, a technique that is known to carry some risks of penetrating or injuring disc, artery or veins. However, this risk is well known and should have been under consideration by the defendant throughout the procedure. We argued that the surgeon passed the surgical instruments too deeply into the disc space, resulting in injury and that he was therefore negligent in carrying out the procedure.

Compensation claim for medical negligence

Have you or a member of your family suffered as a result of medical negligence such as unsuccessful surgery? For more information about our service or for advice about whether we can assist you with a medical negligence compensation claim contact us today on 0800 783 9019 or complete one of our online compensation claim forms. One of our representatives will contact you (without obligation) to discuss the matter further within 24 hours (48 hours at weekends).

Please go to our Costs and Risks section for more detailed information on these and how Clear Answers specialist medical negligence lawyers will handle your claim and funding.

Alternative funding arrangements may apply in Northern Ireland due to differing procedures and Law Society regulations.

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