Paralysed Sussex man wins High Court battle

Phil Scudder has won a high court battle after he was left paralysed following a spinal operation in 2011. Pictured with his friend Matt Chaffe. SUS-160726-155904001
Phil Scudder has won a high court battle after he was left paralysed following a spinal operation in 2011. Pictured with his friend Matt Chaffe. SUS-160726-155904001

A Sussex man who was left paralysed after an operation has won a High Court battle against Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust.

Phil Scudder, a 50-year-old father-of-one from Crowborough, was left paralysed and wheelchair bound after he underwent an operation to remove a slipped disc in Brighton in 2011.

Following his discharge from hospital and the breakdown of a long-term relationship, Mr Scudder moved into a rented bungalow in Ticehurst, where he lived with the support of friends and carers.

He later began a three-year court battle against the trust. It accepted liability following High Court proceedings last month,

Formerly a self-employed plasterer working throughout Kent and Sussex Mr Scudder was an avid motorbike rider in his spare time.

Mr Scudder said: “Apart from a slipped disc, I was a fit 44-year-old man with a job and hobby I loved when this happened. What should have been a routine operation turned into a nightmare which has ended my work, my hobby and led to the breakdown of a long-term relationship.

Mr Scudder has now begun proceedings claim compensation against the trust, which his lawyers say he could run into millions of pounds.

During legal proceedings, Mr Scudder’s law firm Thomson Snell and Passmore argued that the surgeon carrying out the slipped disc operation used a ‘highly unusual and outdated method’. The NHS trust does not accept the surgical technique was outdated or unsafe.

Mr Scudder said: “This nightmare was made much worse by the hospital trust dragging out this issue and denying that they had done anything wrong, when in fact the surgeon who performed my operation used a technique that should never have been allowed.

“I’m relieved that I persevered in getting to the truth with the help of my lawyers and that the case is now settled so that I can get on with my life.”

The High Court will decide how much compensation is owed to Mr Scudder in 2018.

A spokesperson for Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals said: “The trust apologises to both Mr Scudder and his family for the failures in care relating to his surgery on July 8, 2011, and the impact this has had on his life.

“This is a tragic case with competing expert views as to the correct surgical approach. Whilst the trust accepts liability this is not on the basis that the surgical approach was incorrect.

“It is common for there to be more than one school of thought on surgical approaches and it is incorrect to suggest that the surgical technique adopted by the surgeon was unsafe, outdated or inappropriate.

“We very much hope that the lawyers can now work together to achieve an early resolution of the claim and settlement for damages.”

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