Spinal surgery, second opinions & psychiatric issues

XYZ v Warrington & Halton NHS Foundation Trust [2016] EWHC 331 (QB) required consideration of whether or not a lumbar discectomy was performed in breach of a surgeon’s duty of care, in that:

  • bearing in mind the claimant’s state of mind and that she was receiving psychiatric treatment at the time, the surgeon should not have operated upon her without discussing the treatment proposed with the psychiatrist who was treating the claimant at the time in the light of a letter written by that psychiatrist to the surgeon, and
  • the surgeon should have obtained a second opinion.

The claim failed on breach of duty, with causation issues also being addressed. The claimant did not argue that the surgery itself was performed negligently but she had argued that she developed cauda equina syndrome as a result of it.

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