A woman has been given permission by the High Court in London to pursue an epidural injury compensation claim eleven years after suffering the injury.
In 2004, twenty-four year old Karen Rayner delivered her third child at the Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent. Prior to giving birth, Karen had been given an epidural. Karen claims that, at the time, the epidural caused her to lose all feeling in her legs and caused her to experience pains in her heads and spine.
Three weeks after the birth, Karen was readmitted to the hospital after being diagnosed with water on the brain – hydrocephalus. She underwent surgery to drain the fluid but continues to suffer with headaches and spinal pain.
Eight years later in 2012, a specialist determined that Karen´s ongoing health issues was possibly caused by the epidural needle being contaminated with chlorhexidine – an antiseptic commonly used in hospitals to reduce hospital-acquired infections.
Karen – who had since moved to Leeds – sought legal advice and, following an investigation into the viability of her injury being caused by hospital negligence, made an epidural injury compensation claim against Medway NHS Foundation Trust.
Medway NHS Foundation Trust contested the epidural injury compensation claim on the grounds that it was being made ten years after the event had happened and that the three-year Statute of Limitations for bringing hospital negligence claims had expired.
Karen´s solicitor argued that the epidural injury compensation claim was being made within three years of the “date of knowledge” of how Karen´s injury was sustained, and the case went to the High Court in London for the disagreement over the Statute of Limitations to be resolved.
At the High Court, Mr Justice Wilkie agreed with the solicitor´s interpretation of the Statute of Limitations and granted Karen permission to pursue her epidural injury compensation claim. The judge commented that Karen had been “assiduous” in pursuing her right to compensation, and said it would be wrong to prevent the epidural injury compensation claim from being heard. No date has yet been set for the full hearing.