Birmingham & Black Country

Mother Hazel Spence left paralysed by hospital error

Hazel Spence
Image caption Ms Spence and her two sons are to move into a specially adapted home

A mother of two has been given a multimillion-pound payout by a Birmingham hospital, after mistakes during an operation left her paralysed.

Hazel Spence, 35, from Bilston, went to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for surgery to remove a benign cyst in 2006.

The nerves in her spinal cord were damaged by a junior doctor in a follow-up procedure.

The hospital has apologised and carried out an investigation to ensure the same mistake does not happen again.

Ms Spence had been admitted to the hospital to have the cyst removed from between her shoulder blades.

The operation went well but errors were made when a junior doctor went to flush a drain that was removing fluid from her spine.

She was told by doctors two days later she was paralysed from the waist down and would never walk again.

Medical experts have said that if the drain had been replaced Ms Spence would have made a full recovery within days.

She said: "The last six years have been absolutely horrendous.

"I still can't come to terms with it because every day when I wake up the pain is still there as if it was just yesterday.

'Never enough'

"A lot of day-to-day things you take for granted like playing football with the boys, running around, riding our bikes, I can't do that anymore, so even watching them play is heartbreaking because I can't join in."

Her lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, said the University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust had admitted responsibility and had given Ms Spence "a seven-figure sum."

They said the settlement would allow her and her children Dante, 15, and Kyishane, 11, to move into a specially adapted home, to cover costs of childcare and to fund her rehabilitation.

Ms Spence said: "I don't think the money can ever be enough, the equipment and wheelchairs we have to purchase costs tens of thousands of pounds, it's all so expensive so the money goes faster than you think."

In a statement, the hospital trust said: "We always strive to deliver the best quality care and in Ms Spence's case that was not achieved. For that we apologise.

"We wish Ms Spence and her family well for the future and hope that the settlement reached will provide her with the care and assistance she needs.

"The trust ensures that any mistakes reported to us are thoroughly investigated to determine the underlying cause so that we can reduce the risk of them happening again."

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