Advising with empathy and experience

£40,000 award for delayed diagnosis.

The CNCI team have helped a teenage girl secure £40,000 compensation after doctors failed to spot her spinal injury. The Claimant was a competitive swimmer who injured herself while practicing her dives. Under instructions from her coach she dived into shallow water and hit her head on the bottom of the pool. She was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital by ambulance and was sent for an x-ray. After examining the x-ray a consultant orthopaedic surgeon stated there were no spinal injuries.

He then told the Claimant to take off the neck collar she had been wearing and encouraged her to be as mobile as possible. Despite the pain she tried to move around as much as possible. The Claimant’s parents noticed she was having difficulty maintaining her balance and her neck appeared unstable.

A nurse on the ward, who had previous experience of spinal injuries, became concerned for the Claimant. It was eventually decided to perform an MRI scan, after which the radiographer diagnosed a fracture in the cervical spine.

At this point the Claimant was transferred to a spinal injuries unit and given appropriate treatment. Unfortunately her recovery was complicated because she had been allowed to move around freely when her spine should have been immobilised.

The Claimant was a under the age of 18 at the time of the accident so the claim was brought by her parents who acted as litigation friends.

Although the Claimant has made a good recovery in the five years since her accident occurred she still suffers on going problems because of the delay in diagnosis. Her left arm is significantly weaker than her right, she can no longer play physically demanding sports and she was forced to abandon her Duke of Edinburgh award because she couldn’t complete the physical requirements.