Make a claim for scoliosis surgery negligence

If you have experienced an injury as a result of negligent scoliosis surgery, we can help you get the compensation you deserve.

Call us now for a free consultation on whether you have a claim

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Here for you when scoliosis surgery goes wrong

When scoliosis surgery goes wrong, it can cause life-changing injuries up to and including paralysis. When that happens, we're on your side.

As spinal cord injury claim specialists, we understand the particular challenges that these injuries bring, and what is needed to get your life back – as close as possible – to how it was before the negligence. Additionally, our team sees a claim both as an opportunity to secure your future and to throw a spotlight on vital patient safety lessons for medical institutions. These cases are an opportunity, often missed by clinicians, for people to learn from their errors and avoid further instances of negligent care.

When might someone have a claim for scoliosis surgery negligence?

There are a few ways in which negligence can lead to an injury during scoliosis surgery, namely:

  • a failure to properly monitor the spinal cord using Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEPs) or Motor Evoked Potentials (MEPs) at the anterior and posterior spinal cord level, which can give an early warning of compression and damage to the cord that can lead to paralysis;
  • a failure to adequately monitor blood pressure and/or blood loss during the operation, which can also lead to damage to the spinal cord;
  • a failure to adequately correct the spinal curvature;
  • a lack of investigation before, during or even after the operation, using MRI or ‘bending x-rays’, to identify any congenital issues or other problems which could affect the outcome of the operation.
  • misplaced pedicle screws, which can cause post-operative pain;
  • painful impingement on other structures in the body.
  • Experience of a wide spectrum of spinal injuries
  • Offices serving all of England & Wales
  • Accredited by the Law Society, APIL and AvMA
  • No win, no fee funding available

Whatever your situation, call us today for a free consultation on whether you have a claim

Recent cases


Simon Elliman and Sarah White secured a lump sum of £5,628,510 plus periodical payments (£23,000 per annum to age 45, £35,000 per annum from age 45 to 55, £89,000 per annum from age 55 to 65 and £109,000 per annum from age 65 for the rest of life), for a 26 year old woman, for the injuries sustained following negligently performed scoliosis correction surgery, resulting in her sustaining a spinal injury which has rendered her paraplegic. The Claimant is now a full-time wheelchair user and is unable to walk or stand. She lacks sensation or control of her bowel or bladder, experiences back pain and occasional shoulder pain. She has also suffered psychologically because of her injury and adjusting to her disability.

The Claimant was diagnosed with mild scoliosis in her spine in 2012. In 2013 she started to develop significant back pain and was referred to the orthopaedic and spinal surgeons, who advised that she should consider surgery to correct the scoliosis.

The Claimant was admitted to the Evelina Children’s Hospital and the surgery took place on 1st August 2014. Before the operation began, the Claimant’s blood pressure was noted to have dropped. Hartmanns 1 litre was commenced, and the Claimant’s blood pressure returned to 100/60. Spinal monitoring was commenced at 09.36 until 13.50. The somatosensory responses were noted to be well formed but the motor responses were very small and unreliable.

There was a further drop in blood pressure after the first incision was made. The Claimant’s blood pressure increased but remained labile. By 12:45 the Claimant had suffered significant haemorrhage and phases where the blood pressure fell below target.

After surgery, the Claimant was taken to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit and a further phase of hypotension occurred.

The Claimant suffered a further fall in haemoglobin levels to 71 and the PICU staff had trouble waking her up. When the Claimant finally started to come round, concerns were raised about her not moving her legs and an MRI scan was ordered. An MRI took place after 18:00, which reported anatomical distortion at the T5 and T7 levels.

Following the MRI, no cause was reported for the Claimant’s neurological loss and it was advised that she have further emergency surgery to remove the metalwork in order to release the tension in the spine. The Claimant went back into surgery at around 8.30pm and the metalwork was removed. During the surgery a CSF leak was noted. Following the operation, there was no improvement in the Claimant’s condition, she could not move or feel any part of her body below the upper chest area.

About three weeks after the first and second operations, the Claimant was advised that she would need a third operation to put the metalwork back in to stabilise her spine, which would allow for better recovery. This third surgery took place on 20 August 2014.

On 8 September 2014, the Claimant was admitted to the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital for rehabilitation. By the end of the rehabilitation, she developed a very small amount of movement in her legs, although not enough to provide any useful functional movement. She was discharged from RNOH on 17 December 2014, with T8 incomplete ASIA B paraplegia.

A settlement meeting in respect of liability took place on 24 March 2021. Liability was settled on an 85/15 basis in the Claimant’s favour. Judgement was entered by way of an Order dated 11 August 2021. The matter was listed for an 8-day trial on quantum to commence on 1 February 2024 and the parties obtained/exchanged a significant amount of expert evidence in preparation for this. A settlement meeting took place on 8 January 2024 and a compromise was reached during this meeting.

As a result of the Defendant’s negligence the Claimant suffers with permanent and severe paraplegia. She has no useful/functional movement or power in her legs and is entirely wheelchair dependant. She has no control of her bladder/bowels, suffers with significant spasms and experiences significant pain in her shoulders, neck and legs. There has also been an impact on her psychologically. Due to the Claimant’s absence from college and her disabilities she was unable to follow her intended career trajectory. She requires care/assistance with normal activities of daily living.

The Claimant’s physical condition is permanent. She requires assistance now and will require further assistance as she ages. It is likely that her life expectancy will be limited to age 74 years.

The estimated breakdown of the Claimant’s damages is as follows:
Pain, suffering and loss of amenity: £320,000 including interest. (Simmons v Simmons uplift applied.)

Special Damages: Past care costs: £75,000; past travel: £6,000; past aids and equipment £15,500: past accommodation: £130,000; past transport: £10,000; past loss of earnings: £15,000; past miscellaneous: £14,000; future accommodation: £2,300,000; future assistive technology: £400,000; future equipment: £350,000; future medical review/treatment £450,000; future therapies: £157,000, future dietic input: £18,000; future vehicle costs £350,000; future incontinence products £15,000; future loss of earnings and pension £1,000,000.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long do you have to make a claim?

You may not be considering a claim directly after the event – in some cases, patients aren’t aware there may have been negligence until sometime after their operation.

If this is the case, there is no need to be concerned; either you have three years to bring a claim, from the alleged negligence having taken place, or from the date you became aware that it occurred. However, it is advisable to contact a solicitor as soon as possible to discuss your options.

It is worth knowing that if you are bringing a claim for a child, however, you have until their 21st birthday to make a claim. Furthermore, if you are claiming on behalf of an adult with mental difficulties there is no time limit.

How much compensation might you receive for a scoliosis surgery negligence claim?

The amount of compensation you receive for a negligent scoliosis surgery will depend entirely on the injuries you have suffered as a result. Your level of injury will have impacted upon your pain, suffering and even your financial losses, which are all taken into account as part of the calculation.

How can you pay for a claim?

We often work on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement, commonly known as ‘no win, no fee’ funding, which means that should your claim be unsuccessful there will be nothing for you to pay in legal fees. However, we do have other options available.

How long will a claim take to conclude?

We strive to bring all our clients’ cases to a conclusion as quickly as possible. However, for some of the most complex cases, the process can take years to settle or reach trial; especially if the defendant denies liability.

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Our specialist team of spinal cord injury solicitors is a Trusted Legal Partner of the Spinal Injuries Association, so you can be sure that your claim will be handled sensitively and by genuine experts in this area of personal injury.

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