Brachial Plexus Nerve Injury

Anita Marriott, specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitor, settled a claim relating to the negligent dissection of the upper trunk of the brachial plexus.

Ms W had been experiencing right arm/shoulder pain and following a number of investigations was diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome and was referred to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and was subsequently admitted for elective surgery. Unfortunately, during the dissection the upper trunk of the brachial plexus was mistaken for the omohyoid tendon. The surgeon continued with the C7 dissection and repaired the C5 and C6 nerves. Further surgery to improve the repair and long term prognosis was subsequently undertaken. Ms W was advised that whilst they were optimistic a good result had been achieved, it would take around 12-18 months of recovery to achieve this.

Davies and Partners were instructed by Ms W to investigate and pursue a claim on her behalf in relation to the injury sustained to her right upper limb during surgery under the care of Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust.

As a result of the division to the brachial plexus, she had to undergo revision surgery and suffered pain, stiffness, altered sensibility, weakness, reduced dexterity and a cosmetic abnormality related to scarring and posture throughout her dominant right upper limb. The disability and pain are permanent and Ms W remained on significant medication for neuropathic pain, which meant she had to delay having a second child because of fears regarding the impact of the medication on the foetus and for fear of stopping medication over an extended period of time whilst pregnant.

Ms W had to change careers because of the injury to her dominant arm and, whilst she was able to continue working on a part-time basis, she was not able to resume full-time employment as had been planned.

The Defendant Trust made significant admissions in their Letter of Response. Proceedings were issued and judgment was subsequently entered for the claimant with damages to be assessed. Following the disclosure of the parties expert evidence on quantum, condition and prognosis, and the Claimant’s final schedule of loss and the Defendant’s counter-schedule, settlement was agreed and approved by the Court in the global sum of £450,000.

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