Important Cases and Inquiries
OTI by mother and litigation friend OI -v- Guy’s & St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust: 23 July 2018
8-year-old Claimant underwent repair of partial atrioventricular septal defect in 2008. Watershed infarction on post-surgery imaging in keeping with hypotension and low haemoglobin. Previously diagnosed with benign partial epilepsy of childhood. Liability strenuously denied. Defendant contended Claimant had severe congenital cardiac abnormality and was overtaken by the inherent risks of major open heart surgery which had been consented. Claimant suffered severe brain damage, resulting in impaired cognitive and academic ability leaving her with learning difficulties, behavioural and emotional problems. Lacked capacity. Defendant also contended that neurological damage was an ever present risk of cardiac surgery which in this case overtook the Claimant without negligence. Snagging during cardiopulmonary by-pass was non-negligent and a possible cause of damage. Settlement on the basis that the Claimant recover 65% of the full value of her claim to be assessed approved by the Court.
PD by her mother and litigation friend HD -v- Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust: 11 June 2018
At birth the Claimant suffered focal infarct in the left middle cerebral artery. Left with right spastic hemiplegic cerebral palsy, microcephaly learning difficulties, impaired gross motor skills, behavioural problems and impaired intellectual functioning. Claimant now 20 and attending university. Issue in the case was whether the Claimant should have been delivered 10 days earlier than she was in fact and earlier delivery would have avoided the damage. Case heavily contested on liability. The Court approved settlement on the basis that the Claimant recovers 50% of the full value of her claim. The Court also approved liability settlement of the claim on a lump sum basis using the -0.75% discount rate in the sum of £4,950,000.
LMS by mother and litigation friend ED-v-East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust: 16 March 2017
Claimant suffered trauma at delivery with hydrocephalus, left facial palsy, left hemiplegia and squint, global development delay, organic brain damage. Problems with attention, concentration, memory and comprehension. Her gait is unsteady and she tends to trip and fall. No perception of danger and lacks capacity. Claimant aged 11 at settlement.
First case where new Lord Chancellor’s discount rate of -0.75% applied following settlement at an earlier joint settlement meeting. New multipliers applied. Lump sum increased from £1,320,575 to £2,122,398. The new discount rate did not affect Periodical Payment Orders of £50,000 to age 19 and £73,500 p.a. from 19. Capitalising the Periodical Payments and adding it to the lump sum, the value of the award was £9,296,673 which represented 50% of the full value of the claim. Settlement on these terms was approved.
CH being a protected party by her mother and litigation friend DH -v- DR JB: 16 December 2016
8-month-old infant developed pneumococcal meningitis and septicaemia. Alleged delay in diagnosis and treatment. Experts in paediatric infectious diseases, paediatrics and clinical microbiologists on both sides. Pneumococcal meningitis has high mortality and morbidity but is extremely uncommon. Early symptoms of meningitis are often indistinguishable from those of respiratory or systemic viral infection. Prodromal symptoms may be evident for several days before symptoms of meningitis manifest themselves. Heavily contested case. Settlement in sum of £1 million approved.
Chairman – Redfern Inquiry into human tissue analysis in UK nuclear facilities.
Report – 16 November 2010 (HC571-1 and available at www.official-documents.gov.uk)
Lewis v Secretary of State for Health and Another (2008) LS Law Med. 559
Confidential patient information. Case concerned the issue of whether a doctor’s duty of confidentiality survives a patient’s death and the Court’s jurisdiction to authorise disclosure of confidential patient information in the public interest.
Aintree Hospitals NHS Trust v Angelique Sutcliffe (2008) LS Law Medical 230 CA
Spinal anaesthetic contaminated with cleaning agent (chlorhexidine) leading to spinal arachnoiditis with severe neurological and physical consequences.
Chelsea Kennedy v Liverpool Womens Hospitals NHS Trust (2004)
Cerebral palsy trial where Defendant’s expert gynaecological evidence failed to satisfy requirements of Bolam or Bolitho defences.
2000 – 2001
Chairman – Royal Liverpool Children’s Inquiry (Alder Hey)
Report – 30 January 2001 (HC12-11)
Brown v Lewisham and North Southwark Health Authority (1999) Lloyds Reports Medical 110 CA
Medical negligence, including causation, forseeability, remoteness. Whether causation of injury should be analysed by reference to a breach of the duty owed.
Wiszniewski v Central Manchester Health Authority (1998) Lloyds Law Reports Medical 223 CA
Whether doctor was negligent in failing to attend and examine patient, consider CTG trace before deciding what to do, or relying upon a midwife. Doctor’s failure to attend trial – whether this leads to an inference that if he had attended and examined the patient he would have ruptured membranes and proceeded to caesarean section and would have avoided cerebral palsy.
Stephens v Doncaster Health Authority (1996) Med. LR 357
Cerebral Palsy – Plaintiff suffering from quadriplegia and athetosis and in need of adult care for all his needs throughout life – issues as to appropriate multiplier damages and future care needs.