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Charlotte Jones successful in defending liability-only trial concerning a rare type of spinal surgery

Judgment was handed down on 1 June 2023 following a liability only clinical negligence trial in which Charlotte Jones acted for the successful Defendant NHS Trust.

The case concerned a rare type of spinal surgery which was required to remove a giant calcified prolapsed thoracic disc. The Claimant’s case was that the consultant neurosurgeon who carried out the operation was negligent in abandoning a well recognised and reasonable approach to removal of the prolapsed disc (costotransversectomy) and instead proceeding to open the dura mater, thereby significantly increasing the risk to the spinal cord that was encased within the dura.

In addition it was alleged that in the course of his transdural approach the surgeon retracted or manipulated the spinal cord, which led to the Claimant sustaining his catastrophic spinal cord injury. The judge held that the surgeon had acted reasonably in his decision making intra-operatively and his manipulation of the spinal cord was gentle and done with appropriate care and skill and the claim was dismissed.

The case is of interest not least in light of the diametrically opposite opinions held by the two experienced neurosurgical experts on the issues which the case raised and between whose opposing views the judge had to decide.

A link to the judgment is here.


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