Case wrongly marked as Non-urgent results in life changing damage

A father from the Isle of Wight is claiming compensation from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust after doctors delayed performing a vital operation as they deemed his case non urgent.

Steven Chiverton, 39, had attended A&E in 2014 with severe back pain was sent home from A&E, but three days later had to be brought back to St Mary's Hospital by ambulance after losing the feeling in his legs.   Mr Chiverton said: "This wasn’t just normal back pain; I knew something was badly wrong and was in tears when the A&E doctors said I was being sent home. I had been trying to get help for days and I now know that if those doctors had treated me appropriately that day that all this misery we are now facing could have been avoided and I would now be leading a normal life”.   

Steven was eventually airlifted to Southampton General Hospital where he underwent surgery to deal with a prolapsed disc but it was too late to prevent permanent damage.  Mr Chiverton had been suffering with Cauda Equina Syndrome which caused permanent severe back pain, bowel and bladder dysfunction and numbness in his groin.  He also needs crutches to get around around the house and a wheelchair for longer distances.

Steven says : "All I can do now is to try to make sure lessons are learned. Too many people are having their lives ruined unnecessarily by this awful condition. Doctors need to be alert to cauda equina syndrome and that scans and operations need to be done urgently when the red flags appear otherwise the chance of that patient recovering diminishes with every hour that passes."

Following a claim for medical negligence, Isle of Wight NHS Trust admitted that if it carried out proper investigations when Mr Chiverton first complained of pain then his cauda equina syndrome would have been diagnosed earlier and the permanent damage he now has to live with could have been prevented.

David Hawkins of Verisona Law says “If a patient presents with symptoms such as back pain with weakness, pins and needles or numbing in the legs or ‘saddle region’ then they should be immediately investigated for cauda equina syndrome.  Typically cauda equina syndrome requires prompt attention in order to reduce or eliminate pressure on the impacted nerves and lessen the risk of permanent nerve damage, so time is of the essence.  The permanent symptoms Mr Chiverton has unfortunately been left with could have been avoided if the proper investigations were carried out sooner”.      

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