A FORMER South Yorkshire miner has been awarded a six-figure sum in compensation from Barnsley Hospital after doctors there failed to diagnose his condition.
David Lloyd, from Goldthorpe, Barnsley, is reliant on a wheelchair and lives in severe pain because of a progressive condition called cervical myelopathy which causes irreversible damage to the spinal cord.
Surgery is recommended as soon as the condition is confirmed to halt its progression, but the 58-year-old suffered an 11-month delay in diagnosis after doctors discharged him in January 2004 without having established the cause of his symptoms.
Although Mr Lloyd continued to seek medical attention as his condition deteriorated, it was only in December that year – after he had moved to Blackpool – that the signs were recognised and his condition formally diagnosed.
By that point he was barely able to walk and had lost of significant degree of function in both his arms and hands.
Mr Lloyd said: “The doctors’ failure to properly investigate the cause of my symptoms in January 2004 turned my world upside down.
“I used to be a fit man. I would walk and cycle every day. Now I can barely walk at all and I need two sticks to go even the shortest distance. I have had years of constant, sometimes unbearable, pain.
“I am on antidepressants and my relationship with my partner has been badly affected.”
Mr Lloyd took legal action and has now been awarded a settlement from the hospital trust who admitted the care he received fell below the standards they aim to achieve.
Some of the cash will be used to buy and adapt a property to make daily life easier.
Mr Lloyd said: “I am delighted with the settlement and with all the work Raleys have done on my behalf, but the truth is I would much rather be fit and well.”
Debra Allen, from Raleys Solicitors, said: “Cervical myelopathy is a chronic, incurable condition.
“However, surgery can halt the progression of symptoms and it is crucial that, in appropriate cases, the doctors diagnose the condition and arrange for surgery to be carried out as early as possible.
“After Mr Lloyd was finally diagnosed he underwent urgent surgery but he continues to have major mobility problems and pain. He remains wheelchair reliant and requires a significant amount of care in his day to day life.
“No amount of money will take away the years of pain and distress but I hope Mr Lloyd will now be able to close this distressing chapter in his life with a sense justice has been served.”
A Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust spokeswoman said: “Following thorough investigation into the circumstances of Mr Lloyd’s claim, the Trust accepted the care he received fell below the high standards we try to achieve.
“The Trust is pleased the parties have been able to reach an amicable settlement and wish to extend an apology to Mr Lloyd for the suffering he has endured and wish him the best for the future.”