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Family of Blackburn paralysed mum demand answers

First published in News

THE family of a woman who was paralysed from the neck down after an operation on her spine has asked a national investigator to look into her case.

Jean Hannon, 73, and her relatives have spent more than two years persuing a complaint against Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [LTHFT], but have seen their claims rebuffed by medics.

The Blackburn family have now turned to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is now looking at the case before deciding whether to investigate fully.

The complaint centres around the care given to Mrs Hannon after a laminectomy at Royal Preston Hospital in August 2011, which removed a section of vertebrae to relieve pressure on a nerve.

Son Terry said he visited Mrs Hannon after the successful operation, but found she was ‘unattended in a standard chair and slumped forwards with shear agony on her face’.

Another patient on the ward claimed she had been in that position for 90 minutes, and when they alerted nurses to the problem they insisted she should get back into bed by herself, Terry has claimed.

Mrs Hannon was eventually hoisted back into the bed after another ten minutes, but the family believe the episode caused damage to her spine and resulted in her serious deterioration over the next week.

Terry, 53, of Kingsley Close, said: “We’ve had umpteen meetings with the hospital and they haven’t come up with any answers about what went wrong. She walked into the hospital with some pain in her back and came out as a quadriplegic.”

The Lancashire Telegraph featured Mrs Hannon’s plight in 2012 as she battled successfully for the NHS to help fund her ongoing care at her home in Knuzden Brook.

The family was also hit by tragedy in 2006, when Terry’s 22-year-old son Matthew was killed in a 60mph car crash after racing his friend along Livesey Branch Road.

In their official response to the family’s complaint, doctors at LTHFT said they were unable to explain why Mrs Hannon’s condition had deteriorated, but did not accept any failings in her care.

The letter said it was ‘entirely appropriate’ for Mrs Hannon to get out of bed once nurses were happy with her progress.

Karen Partington, chief executive, said in a statement yesterday: “We appreciate that this has been an extremely difficult time for Jean Hannon and her family.

“We did make a number of attempts to resolve the complaint at a local level which included several members of staff meeting with the family of Jean Hannon, but regrettably we were unable to reach a satisfactory conclusion.

“We did advise the family of their rights to contact the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) if they felt that their complaint had not been resolved, as we do with all complainants.”

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