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Spinal Cord Injury - failure to diagnose TB



The claimant, a woman of 83 years old, was admitted to hospital suffering from back pain. Whilst she was on the ward she started to suffer sudden excruciating back pain and neurological symptoms. It was a weekend and it was not until 4 days later that she was properly examined and a diagnosis of TB in the spine was made. By then it was too late to prevent the injury to the spinal cord becoming permanent and she was confined to a wheelchair.


  • Failure to examine and diagnose TB and the resulting collapsed vertebra
  • Failure to treat the collapsed vertebra correctly to prevent permanent damage to the spinal cord.
  • Failure to immobilise and stabilise the fracture and avoid permanent injury to the spinal cord.


A claim was made and the hospital denied responsibility for the injury. Therefore court proceedings were issued and served. No admissions were made and the validity of the claim was disputed.

A trial date was set and shortly before trial the defendants opened negotiations and terms of settlement were eventually agreed. The sum agreed took account of the claimant’s age and life expectancy, which was limited. She received damages of £460,000.