Wakefield man wins payout from Pinderfields Hospital after sepsis antibiotic delay left him paralysed for life

A dad-of-three whose neck and shoulder pain turned out to be deadly sepsis has won a payout from a hospital after a three-hour delay left him paralysed for life.

Richard Saberton, 71, said tests revealed he had sepsis but wasn’t administered antibiotics for another three hours – which left him with irreversible paralysis.

Richard was rushed to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, on November 5, 2016, after complaining of neck and shoulder pain, confusion and difficulty speaking.

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He underwent a triage assessment and the results indicated that he was suffering from sepsis – which is when the body attacks itself in response to an infection.

Richard Saberton was left paralysed for life after a delay in administrating antibiotics to treat his sepsis.Richard Saberton was left paralysed for life after a delay in administrating antibiotics to treat his sepsis.
Richard Saberton was left paralysed for life after a delay in administrating antibiotics to treat his sepsis.

Signs of sepsis include slurred speech, confusion, extreme shivering and muscle pain, passing no urine in a day, severe breathlessness and mottled or discoloured skin.

Just days later, Richard was unable to walk and also had weakened arms - and an MRI scan found he had a spinal abscess that required surgery.

Richard, from Wakefield, said: “It’s been almost five years since my paralysis and it’s taken a long time for me to adjust to not being able to do a lot of what I used to.

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“I used to be a keen cook and gardener, and liked to travel a lot, but I’m much more restricted in what I can do now and rely on Lynn and our children for most of it.

Richard Saberton with friends and family.Richard Saberton with friends and family.
Richard Saberton with friends and family.

“I still struggle to come to terms with what happened.

"Thankfully, the support I’ve had has got me through and now we have our new home which makes it much easier for me to get about.

“I know there’s nothing I can do to change what happened, so all I want to do now is warn others of what to look out for when it comes to sepsis and how important it is for it to be treated early.

“I wouldn’t want others going through what I have.”

Richard instructed medical negligence experts at Irwin Mitchell to investigate his care under the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospital.

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The legal team successfully secured an undisclosed settlement for Richard which will ensure he has access to the ongoing specialist therapies and treatment he requires.

This came after the Trust admitted that the former construction worker should have received antibiotics within “about one hour” of being assessed, following protocol.

The funds have also helped provide Richard with a new home adapted to fit his needs, which he and his wife Lynn, 72, moved into last month.

Rachelle Mahapatra, who represented Richard, said: “Richard’s life was turned upside down in the space of a few days and he and his family have struggled to come to terms with what happened to him.

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“While nothing can change what he’s been through, we’re pleased to have been able to secure a settlement which will help him access the care he needs to live as independently as possible.

“To hear that he’s also now moved into his adapted home is great news. His new home will allow him to live a much more independent life.

“Through our work, we sadly come across a number of people who have been affected by sepsis. It’s vital that people are aware of the symptoms, as early detection and treatment is key to beating it.

“World Sepsis Day seemed a fitting time for Richard to share his story to raise awareness of the potential dangers.”