Estate recovers £115,000 from Hospital Trust who missed neck fracture

We have recently settled a claim brought on behalf of the estate of an older lady, Christina, known as “Chris”.

Chris was 90 years old when she suffered a fall, whilst visiting her husband in hospital, hitting the back of her head with force.

This caused a fracture to the odontoid peg in her neck which Deal Hospital failed to diagnose upon x-ray.

That was in the October of 2001.

In consequence, Chris remained mobile and active and suffered neurological decline, caused by damage to the spinal cord.

This was finally diagnosed when her nephew, a Surgeon visiting from the United States, insisted upon further x-rays and an MRI scan being taken privately at the end of November 2001, this showing the fracture and damage to the spinal cord.

By then, significant damage had been done.

Expert evidence indicated that, had it not been for the negligence, the fracture would have been diagnosed and treatment commenced to arrest Chris’s neurological decline.

With treatment she could have returned to independent living which she held so dear.

As it was, her neurological condition meant that she had to spend the rest of her life in either hospital or residential care prior to her death on 5th February 2004.

From the point of her death we acted for her estate.

The negligence did not directly cause her death.

The damages ultimately agreed, on behalf of the estate, did, however, reflect her severely diminished quality of life between the time of the negligence and her death.

Nick Fairweather, who conducted the case, commented:-

This was a very sad case. Having been a fit and active member of the community into her 90’s, Chris was deprived of the independence she so thrived on at the end of her life. She retained, to the end, a fierce independent spirit of mind and thought together with a good sense of humour. She is sadly missed by all who knew her.

Legally the case was challenging in looking to quantify damages for neurological impairment in a lady of advanced years. I am fully satisfied with the settlement ultimately secured.