Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Serious Injury and Clinical Negligence Newsletter – July 2016

We are pleased to present the July 2016 edition of our Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence newsletter from the Clarke Willmott claims team.

Our aim is to provide you with a brief overview of key developments and issues in the field of serious injury and clinical negligence.

What Price Parenthood? The value we place on a family.

In an article published in this quarter’s issue of the Journal of Personal Injury Law, Chris Thorne, Partner at Clarke Willmott with a special interest in infertility and IVF issues, explores the shortcomings in the law relating to the inability to have a family as a result of the negligence of others.

As solicitor for the Claimants in the Bristol, Sheffield and Edinburgh sperm destruction cases Chris has a unique insight into the challenges faced by clients and the shortcomings of the legal system when the choice to have a family is taken from people desperate to become parents, as a result of the failings of the medical profession. Since writing the article the decisions of Sir James Munby, President of The Family Division of the High Court have brought the issue into greater focus. In nine cases to date, including Re the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008 (Case G) [2016] EWHC 729 (Fam), he has been obliged to decide on issues of parenthood where IVF clinics have failed to complete standard consent forms correctly. His exasperation at the feeble response of the clinics and the need for proper recognition of the damage done to the parents in these circumstances is clear. If parents who have a child which may be biologically but not legally theirs are deserving of compensation, how much more so do those who have been denied the prospect of having children at all.

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Doctor discharged after misleading patient

A doctor who mistakenly removed a patient’s testicle before disposing of it and not telling the patient has been struck off by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (“MPTS”).

Dr Marwan Farouk was supposed to remove a cyst close to the testicle at the BMI Chiltern Hospital in Buckinghamshire, but the tribunal heard that after removing the right testicle instead, Dr Farouk instructed his nurse to throw the testicle in the waste bin and misled his patient, saying that “he had a small right testicle, but it won’t give you any problems”.

Dr Farouk told the tribunal that he did not realise he had removed a testicle, which is why there was no record of it in the notes, but the ruling (which Dr Farouk has 28 days to consider appealing) said that as an experienced surgeon, he “must have recognised the specimen for what it was … this was a series of deliberate acts designed by you to cover up the fact you had made an error”.

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Driverless Cars – Easy Law Complex Morality?

Driverless cars – who will be responsible for an accident – driver or manufacturer? Can you choose to injure but avoid liability?

The arrival of driverless cars on our roads is now inevitable. Testing has already begun in this country and around the world. The government confirmed an intention to proceed when announcing their legislative programme in the Queen’s Speech.

There are some fascinating collaborative projects between car manufacturers, town planners and high tech companies aimed at delivering a safe product in an safe environment. There is even an insurance policy available in the UK to cover the “driver” of a driverless car against the usual liabilities, which puts us a step ahead of the rest of the world.

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Bristol Children’s Hospital – Has History Repeated Itself?

The Report of the Independent Review of Children’s Cardiac Services in Bristol has now been released. The report was commissioned by NHS England’s Medical Director, following a tweet by the parents of Sean Turner, a young boy who died in March 2012 at the age of 4. The tweet to Professor Sir Bruce Keogh pleaded for the quality of care and treatment for paediatric cardiac patients to be “sorted out”, following a Coroner’s ruling that the hospital had not failed their son. Sean suffered a brain haemorrhage and cardiac arrest 6 weeks after undergoing corrective heart surgery. His parents alleged that he had been transferred to the ward at Bristol Children’s Hospital from intensive care too soon and that medics had missed signs of his worsening condition.

The 2016 report focuses on cardiac services provided by University Bristol NHS Foundation Trust between March 2010 and June 2016 to children born with congenital heart disease.
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Increase in injuries on Birmingham’s roads

Department for Transport figures have been released showing that Birmingham has seen an increase in the numbers of deaths and injuries on its roads over the last year – and this despite there being a 4% decrease across the country.

Britain’s second city saw 4,158 injuries on the roads in 2015, a massive 16% rise since the previous year, and one of the biggest rises across the United Kingdom. 56 people died as a result of road traffic incidents across the wider Midlands region, a similar figure to the previous year.

Across the Midlands, the picture was better than in Birmingham, although Wolverhampton saw a 12% rise in road traffic related injuries, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley all saw decreases.

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