29/03/1999

Cases from LAWTEL's PI Quantum Database. Contact Nick Conway on 0171 970 4803.

Melton v Morgan (1999) QBD (Butterfield J) 8 March

Plaintiff: Female, divorced, 45 years old at date of accident; 51 years old at date of trial.

Incident: The plaintiff discovered a pea-sized lump in her right breast. The defendant examined her in May 1993 but conducted no further tests, advising nothing more be done. She returned two months later, but again no further treatment was given. In February 1994 she was diagnosed with advanced stage breast cancer, requiring chemotherapy and a mastectomy. The plaintiff claimed the defendant was negligent in failing to perform the "triple test" on her first visit.

Injuries: The plaintiff was psychologically affected by the removal of her right breast and her altered appearance. She also suffered difficulty moving her right arm. While having chemotherapy, she suffered sickness and hair loss.

Award: u50,000 total damages (out-of-court settlement)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Gadsby Wicks

Plaintiff's counsel: Duncan Pratt

Breda Richards (widow & administrator of the estate of Paul Richards – deceased) v DR JM Pechan (1999) QBD (Mr J Mitting QC) 8 March

Plaintiff: Female, widowed, 36 years old at date of accident; 41 years old at date of trial.

Incident: On 31 July 1994, the deceased developed head-aches, high temperature and diarrhoea. On 2 August he had a pain in his neck, which was red and inflamed. He attended the defendant's surgery and was diagnosed with a viral infection and given anti-inflammatory medication. His condition deteriorated and his wife visited the doctor on his behalf. The doctor agreed he should take a hot bath to ease the symptoms. On 4 August the doctor visited him at home. The neck rash had spread, mosquito-like bites were on his buttocks and he was unable to move. On 6 August his wife phoned the emergency surgery, asking the defendant to attend. He refused, but a colleague visited and advised he went to hospital immediately, where he was provisionally diagnosed with septicaemia. He was transferred to another hospital but suffered multi-organ failure and died.

Injuries: The plaintiff died as a result of his injuries.

Award: u150,000 total damages (out-of-court settlement)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Gadsby Wicks

Plaintiff's counsel: Sarah Vaughan-Jones

Sarah Abbott (by her mother & friend Alison Louise Abbott) v Barking, Havering & Brentwood Health Authority (1999) QBD (Gage J) 8 March

Plaintiff: Female, new-born at date of accident; 11 years old at date of trial.

Incident: On 11 October 1987 the plaintiff's mother attended hospital in labour. An examination revealed the plaintiff was in the "footling breech" position, giving rise to an increased risk of cord prolapse. The midwife also noted the mother's rectum contained faeces and an enema was given at 8.20am. At 8.35am her membrane spontaneously ruptured. There was delay in conducting a second vaginal examination which revealed a loop of the umbilical cord around the vulva. The doctor summoned immediately advised a Caesarean section. There was delay while keys to the surgical room and drugs cabinet were found. It was claimed if the midwife had not performed the enema a doctor would have come sooner. Also, even if this was decided not negligent, the delays were.

Injuries: The plaintiff was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and spastic quadriplegia. The condition was permanent.

Award: u2.5m total damages (out-of-court settlement)

Plaintiff's solicitor: Leigh Day & Co

Plaintiff's counsel: Jean Ritchie QC