Case studies | Clinical negligence client stories

Clinical negligence client stories

GP misdiagnoses spinal injury and hospital misreads X-ray

In July 2009, Mr J was travelling on a bus that braked sharply, throwing him onto the floor of the vehicle. He hurt his back and suffered persistent pain in his lumbar region.

Between August and October the pain got progressively worse and he visited his GP on five separate occasions. The GP did not send him for an X-ray or CT scan, and instead prescribed a course of painkillers.

The pain continued to get worse, until Mr J was forced to call an ambulance and was taken to hospital for an X-ray. The X-ray revealed a stable wedge fracture to L1. Our client was prescribed Tramadol and a CT scan was booked for two weeks’ time.

Shortly before the CT scan was due to take place, our client suffered complete loss of all function in his legs. He collapsed and was taken to hospital again.

He was transferred to the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford where a CT scan diagnosed spinal decompression that had been caused by the original accident and exacerbated by a Tuberculosis infection. Spinal decompression surgery was arranged shortly after the diagnosis was made.


How we helped

We issued proceedings against the GP and the first hospital where the X-ray had taken place. Liability was strongly contested by both parties.

We secured the help of an independent expert neuro-radiologist who showed that the hospital had incorrectly read the results of the original X-ray.

Our expert proved that it was possible to diagnose a spinal decompression from the X-ray, thereby showing that our client could have received corrective treatment much earlier.


The outcome

We won the case on a “no win no fee” basis and recovered just over £70,000 of compensation. Mr J went on to make a full recovery.