Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley hospital trust admits negligence

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Media captionAndrew Downes said hospital staff were initially convinced he had a urinary tract infection

A Birmingham-based composer who was left needing a wheelchair has won his negligence case against a West Midlands hospital.

Andrew Downes, 61, from Hagley in Worcestershire, was admitted to Russells Hall Hospital in 2009, after a fall at his home.

Medical staff failed to diagnose a fractured back and he later suffered a complete spinal cord injury.

The Dudley group of hospitals said more training had been put in place.

Despite complaining of severe back pain, medical staff failed to send him for an X-ray.

Mr Downes, who has composed music for orchestras across the world, as well as TV and radio scores, was instead treated for a suspected urine infection.

'Minimise risk'

He said: "I was put on morphine for the pain which left me disorientated and drifting in and out of consciousness and one time I woke up and I had lost all feeling in my legs.

"It was a terrifying feeling. To be walking around one day, and then unable to move little more than 24 hours later was beyond belief."

Paula Clark, chief executive of The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust said: "We would like to offer our sincere apologies to Mr Andrew Downes for failing to diagnose his injury.

"The care we provided fell below the standard he should have expected.

"We accept there are lessons to be learned and have implemented additional staff training to minimise the risk of a recurrence in the future."

Mr Downes's solicitors said a final settlement had yet to be agreed, although the hospital trust said it would "provide financial security to Mr Downes and his family for the future".

The hospital has already completed several interim payments to help make Mr Downes's home wheelchair accessible.

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