Litigation Personal Injury 9/9/97

Povey v South Birmingham Health Authority – QBD 25 July 1997

Claimant: Stephen Povey, 49

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claim by widower and two teenage children of 40-year-old woman who died undergoing an operation following the discovery of an aneurysm in main artery at base of skull. Held that consultant neurosurgeon was guilty of negligence in allowing less experienced colleague to carry out craniotomy operation on his late wife. During the operation, the artery ruptured causing extensive bleeding.

Although patient seemed to make a good recovery her condition dramatically deteriorated seven days after the operation. She suffered a series of fits and convulsions and finally died on 18 February 1989.

Award: £128,097 agreed damages

Judge: Judge Nigel Baker QC

Plaintiff's counsel: Philip Havers QC

Plaintiff's solicitors: Leigh Day & Co

Stamp v Suffolk Hospital NHS Trust – QBD 28 July 1997

Claimant: Carol Stamp, 58

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claimant went into hospital for micro-surgery to remove gall bladder. Claimed that part of her small bowel became trapped in one of the entry wounds. As result she needed emergency surgery nine days later to release the bowel, and her wound became seriously infected. She later suffered an extensive hernia, and was left a victim of chronic pain. She has problems bending and lifting weights, or sitting and standing for long periods of time and is unable to work. Negligence denied.

Award: Plaintiff entitled to damages on basis of 65 per cent liability

Judge: Mr Justice Langley

Plaintiff's counsel: Margaret Bowron

Plaintiff's solicitors: Cunningham John & Co, Thetford

Thompson v James and ors – CA 29 July 1997

Claimant: Emma Thompson, 15

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claimant left with brain damage leading to severe learning difficulties, speech and behavioural problems after suffering rare complication from measles virus when just a few months old. She will need care for the rest of her life. She was initially awarded £825,000 compensation in the High Court by Mr Justice Gage. Award quashed by Court of Appeal. Held that family GP defendant could not be blamed for what happened. High Court had held that GP fell below standards of a reasonably competent GP in advising claimant's mother and father not to have her immunised against measles. The judges said the parents had sought second opinions and had been in possession of all the facts and had been "encouraged" to have their daughter immunised. Appeal dismissed.

Judge: Beldam, Peter Gibson, Waller LJJ

Appellant's counsel: Rupert Jackson QC and Jon Williams

Appellant's solicitors: Hempsons, London WC2