'Our agony goes on'

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That's the message from the family of Chorley teenager Laura May, who was left paralysed following spinal surgery at the Royal Preston Hospital.

The 16-year-old of Kirkstall Drive thought her long quest for justice had ended at London's High Court on Friday, when she won the right to multi-million pound compensation from the NHS.

High Court judge Mrs Justice Slade ruled against Lancashire Teaching Hospital by saying that Laura's condition was caused by a "misplaced screw" and the failure of the hospital to use a certain kind of monitoring procedure.

However, the hospital trust is planning to appeal against the decision.

It is believed they fear that the case could open the floodgates for similar compensation bids.

Laura's devastated parents Christine and Bill said: "Laura and ourselves are disappointed and upset that the hospital are considering an appeal.

"We had hoped that the judgement of Mrs Justice Slade would be the final chapter in our five-year quest for justice.

"We were hoping to find closure in the judgement and start 2010 looking forward and re-building our lives.

"The possibility of an appeal by the hospital means yet another Christmas will be spent filled with doubt and uncertainty about what the New Year will bring."

Speaking after Friday's judgement Laura's parents said: "The actions of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust have destroyed our lives.

"There is nothing we can do to repair our daughter's body, but the damages will ensure that Laura receives the best care she can for the rest of her life."

Laura was just 11 when her parents noticed an abnormality on her back which turned out to be scoliosis – curvature of the spine.

She was admitted for surgery at Royal Preston Hospital in February 2005 – but after it was over, Laura was paralysed and now faces life in a wheelchair.

The High Court ruling meant that Laura could get millions of pounds in compensation to cover the care and equipment she will need for the rest of her life.

Her lawyers were seeking a 250,000 'interim payment' for her to use until her final award.

But the hospital trust's appeal consideration means this is now on hold.

Following the ruling, the legal team acting on behalf of the hospital made an application for leave of appeal, but this was rejected.

They then made an appeal to extend the 21-day window for the right to appeal, but this was also turned down.

The next avenue for them to follow is to renew their application for leave to appeal to either the same or a different judge.

Diane Rostron, of Linder Myers Solicitors in Lytham, the lawyer representing the family, said: "From Laura and her family's point of view, they are treading water. It is a very stressful time for them."

Speaking on Friday, Tony Curtis, chief executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: "I can confirm that we have received the judgement.

"The NHS Litigation Authority will seek leave to appeal the decision and because of this we cannot go into the details of the case or make any further comment at this time."

Have you got an inspirational story? Contact the Chorley Guardian on 01257 264911 or email: chorleyguardian@lep.co.uk