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Pensioner in line for pay-out

PUBLISHED: 09:45 10 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:59 05 July 2010

A pensioner is in line for a huge compensation pay-out after a hospital admitted it failed to quickly diagnose a condition that left him confined to a wheelchair.

A pensioner is in line for a huge compensation pay-out after a hospital admitted it failed to quickly diagnose a condition that left him confined to a wheelchair.

Thomas Jacobs, from Lowestoft, was struck down with a chronic bone infection in his spine, called osteomyelitis, but his solicitors claimed he could have avoided paralysis had he been treated in time.

The James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in Gorleston, has admitted liability and is in now in negotiation with Mr Jacobs' legal team over the size of the compensation to be paid.

Tom Cook, a clinical negligence solicitor at East Anglian solicitors Kester Cunningham John, said he expected the pay-out to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He added: “As a result of the failure to diagnose his osteomyelitis at an early stage, Mr Jacobs has gone from being independent to relying on others to care for him.

“He has had to move from his long-time family home to a small bungalow, which is being adapted for his needs. He has been left with considerable pain and the need for constant medication.

“We are now trying to agree a financial settlement, which will ensure that he is able to live his life in as satisfactory a manner as possible, given his paraplegia.”

Mr Jacobs, aged in his mid-70s, was an active man, who enjoyed maintaining his allotment and gardening at home and for other people.

He started to suffer from back pain in 2005, which resulted in several visits to the JPH. Mr Cook said if the underlying cause of his client's pain had been diagnosed and treated on his third visit, he would probably have suffered some stiffness and pain following spinal surgery, but would not have been left paraplegic.

A statement from the James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Trust accepted responsibility for Mr Jacobs' paraplegia some time ago and, at that time, offered a full apology.

“The solicitors for the Trust and Mr Jacobs continue to work together in reaching a settlement of his claim for damages. The Trust repeats its deep regret at the difficulties caused by the paraplegia.”

Mr Jacobs, who lives with his wife, did not wish to comment about the case.


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