The supreme court this week ruled in favour of a 46-year-old man, awarding him in total some €640,000 in compensation on the grounds of medical negligence on the part of the state health services.
The man had sued the state, but the Nicosia district court had ruled against him. He then appealed the decision with the supreme court, which reversed the prior ruling.
The plaintiff claimed to be suffering serious and irreversible health problems as a result of being mis-diagnosed by medical staff at Nicosia general hospital and thus not receiving the proper treatment at the crucial time.
The man was injured in a car accident 12 years ago. He was taken to Nicosia general hospital, where he was diagnosed as having suffered a sprained neck and a concussion. He was kept for treatment for two days, but then continued to visit the hospital as an outpatient.
A year later the man had an MRI, which indicated serious problems. As a result he travelled to Sweden where he underwent spinal fusion surgery.
Unlike the district court, the supreme court did find a causal link between the man’s initial treatment at the Nicosia hospital and the subsequent physical disabilities.
According to the testimony of a neurosurgeon, the plaintiff – a builder by trade – is permanently disabled and unable to work due to severe pain in his cervical spine.
The supreme court said that, having considered all the testimony before it, it was convinced that the man’s medical problems “are the outcome of the belated diagnosis of the fracture and its belated treatment, which could have been done in Cyprus.”
It said the man “continues to face the risk of becoming a tetraplegic due to the possible onset of myelopathy.”
The plaintiff was awarded around €400,000 for loss of earnings, another €100,000 to cover future expenses for physical therapy, hydrotherapy and medications until the year 2041, plus various smaller amounts covering his medical expenses to date.