Woman Allowed to Pursue Compensation for an Injury from an Epidural

A woman from Leeds has been granted permission to pursue compensation for an injury from an epidural eleven years after the injury was sustained.

In 2004, Karen Rayner (aged 24 at the time) gave birth to her third child at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent. Prior to the delivery, Karen was given an epidural which, she claims, resulted in a loss of feeling in her legs and pains in her spine and head.

Karen was readmitted to the Medway Maritime Hospital three weeks later, having been diagnosed with hydrocephalus which is more commonly known as water on the brain. Surgery was carried out to drain the fluid, but Karen still continues to suffer as a result of an inflammation affecting her brain and spinal cord.

It was not until 2012 that a medical expert discovered that her ongoing condition was likely caused by the epidural being contaminated with an antiseptic called chlorhexidine. Karen – now living in Leeds – sought legal advice and claimed compensation for an injury from an epidural against Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

The NHS Trust disputed the claim for compensation for an injury from an epidural on the grounds that the three-year Statute of Limitations for injury compensation claims had expired. Karen´s solicitor argued that her claim had been made within three years of the “date of knowledge” of an injury and its cause, and took the case to the High Court in London.

Last week, Mr Justice Wilkie agreed with the solicitor´s interpretation of the law, and granted Karen permission to pursue her claim for compensation for an injury from an epidural. Judge Wilkie said that Karen had been “assiduous” in pursuing her right to compensation for an injury from an epidural and it would be wrong to stop her case. No date has yet been set for the full hearing.