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Kasare, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1301
Experience:  Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
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My husband has had problems with his spine years.

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Hi, My husband has had problems with his spine for many years. He had 2 discectomies on L5 and then a fusion. His recovery from the fusion was going well until late in 2012, a chair collapsed from under him and brought back his symptoms. MRI showed no changes. Neurosurgeon said there was nothing more he could do surgically. I did research & learned that it could actually be the sacroiliac joint which acts as a shock absorber, particularly if L5 is fused. It also takes more strain in general when L5 is fused. However, it's difficult to diagnose. His symptoms weren't completely typical of SIJ degeneration because his pain ran further but that's not uncommon. The only gold standard test for determining if it is the SIJ is to get a very specific & targeted nerve block injection into the sacroiliac. If that alleviates the pain, it's highly likely to be the SIJ. We asked for the test to be done. I have it in writing. We were advised it wasn't the SIJ. We were even told that a previous nerve block would have 'covered/reached that area' and I pointed out that it had to be targeted. We dropped it when we decided to trust the professionals. After that, he was given another discectomy at L4 (almost as if to 'try this it might work') but it made him worse. He even had to be taken (not quite rushed) into hospital. BUPA then agreed to fund a spinal cord stimulator implant for him. It masks the pain and confuses the signals to the brain. It worked. He'd been laid up (once again) for almost the entire year in 2013 laid up in agony after the chair collapsed. There was much suffering and I was run ragged. We had to travel from Aberdeen to London to get the implant done. Despite having BUPA cover, some of his funds had run out and we spent a lot of money in London for consultations & scans, adding to our debts we'd worked hard to clear. He returned to work Jan 2014. He was made redundant Oct 2014 but immediately got another job. 3 weeks in to the job, his spinal cord stimulator (which he had to charge up daily each night) suddenly stopped being effective. We suspect it's technically failed but yet to confirm. His new boss had to let him go. He's still laid up in agony. We returned to London & paid to have the SI joint nerve block. It was incredibly effective which of course suggests that it's his SIJ after all. If the nerve block had been done when we asked for it, he wouldn't have had the unnecessary discectomy at L4. He wouldn't have needed the SCS implant if the SIJ fusion was successful. I had requested the SIJ test in March of 2013. He endured so much pain and suffering. It has all cost us a lot of money and essentially has cost him 2 jobs. He's still laid up in agony but now, he doesn't have medical insurance cover so has to go through the NHS which takes a lot more time. We're struggling with the mortgage. This is now taking it's toll on his mental health. It all very complex as there's so much more to this which we've endured. We believe that the neurosurgeon should have agreed to order the simple yet very effective SIJ nerve block and we believe that it would have saved him from so much pain. This has had a profound effect on both of us, our lives and our futures. Do you think that we have a case against the neurosurgeon? He not only failed to listen and act on our concerns & requests but he even tried to fob us off about the previous nerve block being an indicator of some sort (it really wasn't).

Hi Clare, thank you for your question, I will try to assist you with this.

Unfortunately, clinical negligence claims are very difficult and costly to pursue, especially at the beginning of a claim as you do really need a report to confirm if there has been any negligence by the professional. That said however does not mean that you should not consider this.

To bring a successful claim you will have to prove that the neurosurgeon owed a duty of care to your husband, that he was negligent in his management, and also that the your husband suffered harm as a result.

To obtain compensation your husband would have to succeed on both liability and causation:

1. Liability to show that the neurosurgeon must have been found to have acted in a manner that no other similar professional would have done; and

2. Causation that harm has resulted which would not otherwise have occurred (on the balance of probability, ie the action of the doctor was more than 50% likely to have caused the harm).

It does sound on the information provided that there is potential for a claim for compensation (hence some solicitors have shown interest in this), there are issues that need to be explored and that can only be done by way of a medico-legal report. For this you will need to provide all the medical records for your husband - GP and Hospital, including private and NHS (each provider will charge you a fee for obtaining these records - usually £50) - to a specialist reporting neurosurgeon expert who will review the records, meet with your husband and prepare a report.

I should also add that you have 3 years from the date of the incident or "date of knowledge" to bring a claim for clinical negligence. This "date" is often difficult to define in clinical negligence, but essentially this is from when you suspected or had reasonable knowledge regarding the action or inaction complained off.

I would suggest you speak to the lawyers who have shown interest and see if they are willing to undertake this on a conditional fee arrangement.

If you have any further or specific questions, please ask. Thanks

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Kasare,

Many thanks for your response.

We believe that there is a case but understand that it won't be cheap or easy to obtain the relevant answers to the points you've raised above.

Having endured so much preventable pain and suffering as well financial hardship, both past & present and with much more to come, we really only have one option but to pursue this case.



Hi Claire
The medico-legal report should cost you in the region of £750-1000, as you will need a neurosurgeon to provide the report. If that is positive in your favour, a law firm should be more willing to look at your husbands case on a conditional fee arrangement.
If you have have further questions, please ask.
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Good luck.
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