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Victory for Rebecca in negligence case
A FAMILY has won a High Court battle against a hospital which left their daughter a quadraplegic after an operation went wrong.
The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, in Middlesex, could now be forced to pay Rebecca Ling, 20, millions in compensation after it lost a five-year litigation battle.
Rebecca, of Runwell Road, Wickford, went into the hospital for an operation to correct curvature of her spine when she was 13.
However, surgeons accidently caused irreparable damage to Rebecca’s spinal cord.
Her family mounted a case for compensation, which dragged on for five years until a High Court judge finally ruled the hospital was at fault.
Rebecca’s mother Julie said: “When they delivered the verdict it was mixed feelings.
“On the one hand we were relieved, but on the other it was upsetting as it reinforced what we knew – this could have been prevented.
“This fight has aged us. I am 43 but am so worn down I feel 53.”
After the operation, Rebecca was left paralysed from the neck down and cannot breathe without a ventilator.
She previously enjoyed an active life, despite being born with genetic condition Prader-Willi Syndrome, but now requires round-the-clock support from carers.
The rare disorder can cause chronic feelings of hunger and overeating, low muscle tone and learning disabilities.
The family’s court case has been funded through Legal Aid, and the hospital contested it at every stage, never offering to negotiate a settlement.
The claim is now being quantified, but is likely to run to several million pounds in compensation for Rebecca.
Julie said: “It’s never been about the money. Our daughter had to endure an entire, awful year in hospital after she was paralysed.
“I didn’t publicly release the name of the hospital to the media for six years. Now I’m not protecting the hospital anymore – not after the way it has treated us and Rebecca.”