Hereford & Worcester

Paralysed Bromsgrove man’s £2m payout by hospital

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Media captionHospital pays £2m to patient left in wheelchair after hip surgery

A former social worker who cared for people with spinal problems has been awarded £2m after being left paralysed following a routine operation.

Stephen Onley suffered complications after he was given an epidural during hip resurfacing surgery.

It resulted in a lack of blood to the spine which left Mr Onley, from Bromgsrove, needing a wheelchair.

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital said they review "serious incidents such as this one" to "prevent similar incidents".

The 56-year-old said the irreparable damage caused by the epidural on 6 December 2010 could have been prevented if his blood pressure was checked routinely following the operation.

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But it was not until two days later that staff suspected something was wrong as Mr Onley had no movement from the waist down.

An MRI scan that day confirmed he would never be able to walk again.

Image copyright Onley family
Image caption Mr Onley was forced into early retirement following the operation in 2010

Mr Onley said he has had to learn how to cope with his emotions. "If you allow anger to eat you up it's self-destructive. So I've had to learn to forgive."

The former social worker from Worcestershire was awarded a settlement of £2m from the hospital.

"No money can replace the loss of your legs, loss of your work, loss of your relationship you had with your partner, loss of ability to be with your children and grandson.

Image caption Mr Onley said the £2m settlement will go towards making his home adaptable to his needs

"What it can do is make life easier after the event," said Mr Onley.

In a statement, the hospital said: "We would like to extend our most sincere apologies to Mr Onley for what happened in 2010.

"We are pleased that this settlement will support him going forward but we are of course sorry that it has been necessary.

"After serious incidents such as this one, we try to establish exactly what has happened and why. It is using this knowledge that we can prevent similar incidents in the future."

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