The Clyde & Co healthcare team have
successfully defended a claim in the Oxford County Court arising
from neurosurgery performed in December 2009
In short, it was alleged by the Claimant that a procedure to
relieve compression on his spinal nerves was performed
negligently. It was said that during the course of the
procedure, the Defendant must have damaged the spinal nerves by
slippage of a surgical instrument into the spinal canal causing
compression. The Claimant has ongoing urinary and sexual
dysfunction as a consequence of the nerve injuries.
The matter was robustly defended throughout, and proceeded
to trial in April 2016. The Defendant argued that the
proposed mechanism of injury alleged by the Claimant simply did not
happen and that the injuries were the unavoidable consequence of
the need to retract the spinal nerves in order to remove a disc
which had impinged into the spinal canal.
Judgement was formally handed down on 15th July 2016. The
Judge found entirely in favour of the Defendant. It was noted
that the evidence provided by the Defendant and his expert
neurosurgeon was credible, honest and provided a critical and
careful analysis of the medical evidence before the
By contrast, the Judge specifically found that the
Claimant's expert, Mr Kirkpatrick, produced evidence in a way
which undermined any confidence in the quality, reliability and
impartiality of that evidence, such that it had to be treated with
very great caution and was only of limited value and
We would echo the Judge's comments that the Court and
all involved in this claim have great sympathy with the
Claimant. He has suffered a very real and lasting injury as a
result of surgery required to attempt to correct a significant
spinal compression. As the Judge concluded, he was not wrong
to have put his trust in the Defendant and he simply had the great
misfortune to have suffered a rare but accepted complication of
lumbar decompressive surgery.
This judgement continues a recent run of trial success for
the healthcare team.
After studying bioengineering and completing a PhD in the San Francisco Bay Area and a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship in London, Mark has spent the past four years analysing global health policy.
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