Departing from Guidelines and Balancing of Risks in Different Medical Settings

Mrs Marion O'Brien (Administratrix of the Estate of Mr John Berry (Deceased)) v Guy's & St Thomas' NHS Trust [2022] EWHC 2735 (KB) At [99] HHJ Tindal (sitting as a Judge of the High Court) summarises aptly that “this case turns not on debates about causation – or indeed the…

Cancer and Contributory Negligence: Who is the Objectively Reasonable Patient?

Otu v Vivek Datta [2022] EWHC 2388 (KB) When will a patient be partly at fault for not following up when their doctor negligently fails to arrange an appointment? That was the question asked of the High Court in Otu v Datta, a case concerning the death of the Claimant’s…

Stroke prevention

Watson v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2022] EWHC 148 (QB) Pickering v Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2022] EWHC 1171 (QB) Both of these cases were stroke cases involving issues of causation. Both were decided by Mr Justice Andrew Ritchie. General As those with experience of stroke…

Determining Causation in a Bacterial Meningitis Case

Davies v Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWHC 169 (QB) This was a claim brought by the widower of a woman who died of bacterial meningitis. She had been admitted to hospital two days earlier with a history of severe headache and middle ear infection. The Defendant admitted that…

Testing the Boundaries of Causation in Mesothelioma Deaths

Wandsworth BC v HMC for Inner West London [2021] EWHC 801 (Admin) Mesothelioma deaths arising from asbestos regularly come before coroners. This case, though, is of particular interest because it tests the boundaries of causation in relation to mesothelioma deaths – what evidence is needed to show that asbestos exposure led…

Cauda Equina and Causation

Hewes v West Hertfordshire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust and 2 Others [2020] EWCA Civ 1523 The Court of Appeal dismissed a challenge to a first instance decision of the High Court that two NHS Trusts and an out-of-hours GP were not liable to the Claimant for alleged failings in the…

Monitoring During Labour

NKX v Barts Health NHS Trust [2020] EWHC 839 (QB)  This article originally appeared in Issue 6 (September 2020). The Facts  This was a liability only hearing where the Claimant alleged that his mother was given insufficient warning that she should have continuous fetal monitoring (“CFM”) when she was in…

Covid-19 and Causation

One key factor that is driving the Government’s response to COVID-19 is the number of deaths. Those are deaths ‘from’ COVID-19, the number of deaths ‘with’ COVID-19, and the number of those who have died with or from COVID-19 who are ‘likely’ to have died within a certain period of…

Consent and Causation

Pepper v Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust [2020] EWHC 310 (QB)  This article originally appeared in Issue 5 (May 2020). The Claimant alleged that she unnecessarily underwent a laparotomy and Whipple’s procedure, an operation undertaken to remove cancerous tumours from the head of the pancreas. The procedure was carried…

Causation – No Need to Prove a Specific Mechanism?

Schembri v Marshall [2020] EWCA Civ 358  This article originally appeared in Issue 5 (May 2020). Somewhat surprisingly, the Court of Appeal has upheld the controversial judgment of Stewart J (covered in Issue 3) that the Claimant’s wife would not have died if she had been referred to hospital, despite…