Scenario

In August 2012 our client had a coronary artery bypass graft procedure at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. Our client was sedated and unconscious for a number of days after surgery but, on regaining consciousness, reported pain in his right leg, for which staff gave him painkillers. The pain continued to increase, and he developed tenseness in his leg with reduced movement in his right foot. The vascular surgeons who reviewed our client considered a diagnosis of compartment syndrome, but instead of performing tests that could have diagnosed the cause of his pain, they prescribed further pain killers.

Nearly two weeks after surgery our client was assessed by a physiotherapist. At this point, he had developed foot drop in his right foot, causing his right foot to drag when walking. Following nerve conduction studies our client was found to have sustained an injury to his common peroneal nerve, an irreparable condition meaning that our client’s mobility is now permanently reduced.

What was our role?

Our role was to support our client and successfully argue his case to prove that not only was the NHS Trust negligent but that he sustained the injuries to his common peroneal nerve as a result of the negligence. We also needed to ensure that suitable compensation was received to provide our client with the financial support necessary to obtain physiotherapy, which was not being provided by the NHS, and orthotic services to purchase custom-made splints to assist with his mobility.

How did we add value?

We obtained expert evidence from a cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon and a neurologist to provide an opinion on the cause of our client’s injury. Although the exact cause of our client’s nerve injury could not be determined, the experts agreed it was either due to failures to protect our client’s nerve during surgery or the period of unconsciousness or to diagnose and treat compartment syndrome. In either scenario, this would have been negligent.

The defendants disputed this claim and did not make any admissions of negligence but, following the issuing and service of Court proceedings, we successfully secured £80,000 in compensation for our client.

Our client’s life has changed significantly since his initial operation for his heart, and the compensation will ease the burden of adjusting his life accordingly.  He will be able to continue with the necessary medical care and buy the relevant supporting medical aids.

The solicitor with conduct of the case was Sarah Huntbach, Senior Associate, assisted by Christopher Frankling, Legal Assistant.

My partner and I are happy with the way ‘Anthony Collins Solicitors’ handled our case, especially Sarah Huntbach. We felt hopeless and to find that they listened and cared about our problems and went the extra mile to help us. This restored our hope in the system. Thank you for everything.
Mr B K