Spencer v Hillingdon Hospital [2015] EWHC 1058 (QB)

The claimant had suffered deep vein thrombosis following a pulmonary embolism on each of his lungs. He alleged that the defendant hospital had been negligent in failing to advise him of the risk of contracting deep vein thrombosis and for failing to advise him of the signs and symptoms should that risk eventuate. The court considered that the ordinary sensible patient would feel justifiably aggrieved not to have been given on discharge the information contended for if they knew how significant that information was. Given the remoteness of the risk, there was no duty to advise to obtain informed consent, but there were different considerations in play: one is a warning of a remote risk; the other is information as to characteristic signs and symptoms indicative of a potentially fatal condition that can be successfully treated if early diagnosed.

The court found that the defendant failed the claimant by not advising him at any time whilst he was in their care of the life threatening significance of symptoms of the kind he suffered and the consequent need for him urgently to seek medical care if he suffered such symptoms. The court rejected a plea of contributory negligence, advanced on the basis that the claimant had not gone straight to his GP when his symptoms first arose. That was rejected: the claimant’s evidence that pain in his calf was considered due to inactivity rather than an operation to his lunge was accepted. He could not reasonably have foreseen that by failing to seek attention earlier he would suffer deep vein thrombosis. Judgment was given for damages in an agreed sum of ВЈ17,500.

May 15, 2015 В· Editorial Team В· Comments Closed
Posted in: Cases