Sophie Tyler, 17, Left Paralysed By Hospital Error
PRESS ASSOCIATION - A teenage schoolgirl was left paralysed from the waist down when a spinal anaesthetic was left in too long after a routine operation, a hospital has admitted.
Sophie Tyler, 17, of Risca, near Newport, South Wales, will never walk again after an epidural was mistakenly left in place for more than two days.
An admission of liability by a leading UK children's hospital has left the way open for a full settlement, providing Sophie with financial support for the rest of her life.
Sophie was 14 on May 27, 2008 when she was admitted to Birmingham Children's Hospital for surgery to remove gallstones. While the operation was successful, an epidural to control pain was left in place too long, causing permanent damage to her spinal cord.
The day after the operation, she complained of numbness in her right leg, but the epidural continued to be pumped into her spine as she felt no pain. After two days of receiving the anaesthetic, the numbness had spread to both legs and Sophie was barely able to move her feet.
Despite warnings that something was seriously wrong, hospital staff failed to halt the painkilling infusion until the night of May 29. The next day she underwent an MRI scan which revealed the anaesthetic had entered her spinal cord and damaged the membranes, paralysing her from the waist down.
Sophie's mother, Sue Tyler, said: "My daughter's life has completely changed as a result of what happened. From being an outgoing teenager, her life has altered overnight and we have all had to come to terms with what has happened.
"Sophie is still taking her A-levels and hopes to then go to university, but to do so she has had to be very determined and needs a lot of support to enable her to achieve her goals."
Dr Vin Diwakar, chief medical officer at Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "We are deeply sorry for the unimaginable distress we have caused Sophie and her family as a result of the care she received at our hospital three years ago.
"The care we provided fell below our usual high standards and since then we have implemented a whole series of changes to try to ensure that this never happens again."