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Paralysed nurse win negligence claim

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A RETIRED nurse left paralysed after an operation on her back at Edinburgh’s Western General Hospital has won a legal action claiming she was a victim of medical negligence.

A judge ruled that the surgeon, who was still in training and carrying out an unusual procedure, had failed “to exercise the ordinary skill” required on this one occasion.

Former nursing sister Enid Smith underwent surgery in 1997 to implant a trial electrode in a bid to help alleviate back pain.

But after the operation, the 75-year-old of Bearsden, in Glasgow, was left a Paraplegic.

She raised an action at the Court of Session in Edinburgh suing Lothian University Hospitals NHS Trust, claiming her condition was caused by trauma to the spinal cord during the surgery. The trust contested the action.

After suffering back pain for a number of years, Mrs Smith sought a referral for a dorsal cord stimulator to help with her condition and underwent the surgery to insert a trial electrode.

The procedure was carried out by Saad Bashir under the supervision of a consultant neurosurgeon.

Mr Bashir, who later left the NHS to work in Pakistan and is now a consultant in Karachi, told the court that he could not accept that his surgery had caused injury to the spinal cord.

But judge Lady Clark of Calton said “the overwhelming weight of evidence” was that Mrs Smith’s paralysis was “caused by trauma to the cord by the electrode during the surgical procedure”.

Mrs Smith is seeking £500,000 compensation but the issue of damages remains outstanding.

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