Litigation Personal Injury 28/04/98

Newbury v Bath District Health Authority – QBD 21 January 1998

Claimant: Sandra Newbury, 48

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claimant, formerly an active woman who enjoyed country walking and cycling and who was assistant manager of a firm of contract cleaners, suffered increasing back pain during the late 1980s. By the end of 1988 she was taking painkillers daily and was having difficulty walking more than 50 yards and her once-active lifestyle had collapsed. As a result of long waiting lists for surgery, it was not until January 1991 that she underwent a three-hour operation for spinal decompression and fusion at Bath's Royal United Hospital. She has now been left with acute loss of sensation in her lower body. Judge rejected claims that she had been misled over the nature of her treatment and over the treatment itself but nevertheless ruled that the hospital managers had been responsible for Newbury's negligent post-operative care which had fallen below acceptable standards

Award: £200,000 damages

Judge: Mrs Justice Ebsworth

Counsel for the plaintiff: Dermod O'Brien QC

Plaintiff's solicitor: Rock Pulsford & Co, Bristol

Harris v South Essex Health Authority – QBD 12 January 1998

Claimant: Emma Harris, 14

Incident: Medical negligence

Injuries: Claimant suffered oxygen starvation during birth at Basildon Hospital in March 1983. As a result she now has to spend most her time in a wheelchair and has grave communication difficulties, but with the aid of her family she is said to have made extraordinary strides in conquering her handicaps. She is able to get herself from her bed to her wheelchair and dress herself and manages to attend a mainstream school. The health authority denied liability for what happened

Award: £550,000 (agreed damages)

Judge: William Crawford QC

plaintiff's counsel: Simeon Maskrey QC

Plaintiff's solicitor: Osborne Morris & Morgan, Milton Keynes