Harborough dad receives apology from NHS after delay in treatment for serious spinal condition

He has been left unable to work and struggles with ongoing bowel and urinary issues.
Massimo in hospitalMassimo in hospital
Massimo in hospital

A Great Bowden dad has received an apology from NHS bosses after a delay in treatment for a serious spinal condition which can leave people paralysed.

Massimo Mattera attended A&E at a local hospital on October 21, 2018, complaining of back pain and numbness. He was suspected to have cauda equina syndrome, a rare condition which compresses the nerves of the spinal cord.

The hospital had no MRI facility available and contacted Leicester Royal Infirmary (LRI) to ask whether Massimo should be transferred that evening. LRI said the scan could wait until the next day.

Massimo now relies on crutches to walkMassimo now relies on crutches to walk
Massimo now relies on crutches to walk

The dad-of-two was admitted and underwent the scan on October 22 and LRI discharged him, advising it would see him in the trauma clinic in four to six weeks.

But around two weeks later Massimo again attended A&E where an urgent scan was carried out. He was transferred to LRI for decompression surgery and a discectomy to remove the damaged part of his spine.

Following his surgery in November 2018, Massimo, aged 42, continued to suffer from increased loss of sensation.

He has since had to give up his job in sales and been left with ongoing bowel and urinary issues.

Massimo and his wife Lisa DarlingMassimo and his wife Lisa Darling
Massimo and his wife Lisa Darling

Massimo instructed medical negligence lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

The Trust admitted Massimo ‘should have been transferred to Leicester and undergone an urgent MRI scan’ and ‘should then have been listed for urgent surgery, and this would have been carried out on 22 October 2018’.

The Trust accepted liability and apologised for ‘the shortcomings in the care provided’. Lawyers are now finalising a settlement to fund the specialist rehabilitation and therapies Massimo requires.

University Hospitals Leicester Medical Director Andrew Furlong said: “I would like to apologise to Mr Mattera for the shortcomings in the care provided, and thank him for taking the time to share his experience of this rare and dangerous condition, which is challenging to diagnose and can have serious consequences for patients.

“We are pleased to be able to help support Mr Mattera in his ongoing therapy following successful surgery at Leicester Royal Infirmary in 2018.”

Massimo said: “I’d had back pain in the past, but I knew something wasn’t quite right when I developed numbness.

“It was something I hadn’t experienced before, however, when I was discharged home from Leicester, I trusted the professionals that there was nothing serious going on.

“Then my condition got worse. I ended up back at hospital undergoing urgent surgery, which came as a huge shock.

“Since then, I still suffer leg and foot pain constantly. I use crutches to get around and also have a splint on my right leg as my foot is floppy and my ankle needs support. I’ve had a few falls as my leg can give way without warning. I’ve also put on a lot of weight which is really upsetting.

“It’s awful to think that it could have been avoided had I been treated for cauda equina syndrome earlier.”

The symptoms for cauda equina syndrome include loss of sensation between the legs, bladder and bowel disturbance, back pain and lower limb pain, numbness and weakness.

Visit www.championscharity.org.uk for more details.

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