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Medical Law Reports RSS feed

AB and Others v John Wyeth & Brother Ltd and Others

Multiparty (group) litigation — Cut-off dates — Benzodiazepine — Late claimants — Applications for legal aid to be made by September 24, 1991 — Judge's refusal to extend cut-off date — Claimants not precluded from presenting their claims — Whether judge erred in principle or acted ultra vires — Whether Court of Appeal could or should interfere with judge's exercise of his discretion — Source and extent of judge's procedural power in group actions

(1993) 4 Med LR 01

Burton v Islington Health Authority

Negligence — Duty of care — Right to sue — Plaintiffs injured due to defendants' alleged medical negligence at time when plaintiffs were embryos en ventre sa mere and not capable of being born alive — Whether plaintiffs had legal status and entitled to sue in negligence after birth — Whether defendants owed duty of care to plaintiffs

(1993) 4 Med LR 08

Antcliffe v Gloucester Health Authority

Practice — Striking out — Want of prosecution — Delays by the plantiff in commencing action — Prejudice suffered by the defendants — Whether prejudice suffered was sufficient — Changes in rules with regard to payment of damages — Whether sufficient to prejudice defendants — Whether courts should categorise consequences of delay

[1993] LS Law Med 14

Atkinson v Oxfordshire Health Authority

Limitation of action — Knowledge — Constructive knowledge — Reasonableness — Unsuccessful operation for removal of brain tumour in May 1967 — Writ issued in July 1989 — Whether plaintiff or plaintiff's mother acted reasonably — Whether court should exercise discretion in favour of plaintiff — Limitation Act 1980 sections 11, 14(b), 33

(1993) 4 Med LR 18

Re J (A Minor)

Minor — Medical treatment — Consent — Power of court in life-threatening situation — Whether inherent jurisdiction or Children Act 1989 — Whether possible to override wishes of those with parental responsibility — Whether treatment could be authorised against advice of doctors

(1993) 4 Med LR 21

Re S

Adult — Medical treatment — Power of court — Whether court has jurisdiction to order treatment in life-threatening situation against patient's wishes

[1993] LS Law Med 28

McAllister v General Medical Council

Professional conduct — Doctor — Scotland — Disciplinary proceedings — General Medical Council — Whether professional conduct committee applies Scottish or English law — Evidence — Whether sufficient corroboration

(1993) 4 Med LR 29

Taylor v Somerset Health Authority

Medical negligence — Nervous shock — Spouse — Whether damages recoverable for viewing cadaver in mortuary in order to establish death

(1993) 4 Med LR 34

Airedale NHS Trust v Bland

Medical treatment — Withdrawal — Consent — Persistent vegetative state — Discontinuance of life-supporting medical treatment — Whether lawful for doctors to withdraw life-supporting medical treatment, including artificial feeding, to patient who had no prospect of recovery or improvement — Whether application should be made to court for declaration as to legality where patient had not given valid consent

(1993) 4 Med LR 39


Medical treatment — Abortion — Mentally handicapped adult — Power of court — Whether declaration needed for termination of pregnancy — Abortion Act 1967, section 1

(1993) 4 Med LR 75


Medical treatment — Consent — Adult — Mentally handicapped — Whether court has jurisdiction to order treatment — Whether court's powers differ if operation is therapeutic or non therapeutic

(1993) 4 Med LR 77

Rogers v Whitaker

Professional liability — Ophthalmic surgeon — Sympathetic ophthalmia — Patient almost blind in right eye — Surgeon advising her that he could operate and improve eye's appearance — Patient asking about possible complications — No express question whether left eye would be affected — Surgeon not disclosing a 1-in-14,000 risk of sympathetic ophthalmia developing — Operation properly performed but patient rendered blind in left eye as result of sympathetic ophthalmia — Whether surgeon negligent in not disclosing risk — Whether acceptance of his advice was cause of loss — Measure of damages — Negligence — Duty to warn patient — Duty to answer patient's questions — Duty to exercise reasonable care — Causation — “But for” test not exclusive test of causation — Causation — Negligence — Whether reliance on advice establishes causal link

(1993) 4 Med LR 79

Re H (Mental Patient)

Medical treatment — Consent — Adult mental patient — Capacity to give consent — Invasive medical procedures — Whether lawful to institute without consent — Whether appropriate to grant a declaration

(1993) 4 Med LR 91

The Queen v Secretary of State for Health, ex parte Hickey

National Health Service — Medical practitioner — Remuneration — Withholding £2,000 from remuneration — National Health Service (Service Committees and Tribunal) Regulations 1974 (SI 1974 No 455), regulation 14 — Whether power of Secretary of State to direct withholding of remuneration compensatory — Whether permissible to consider past record of practitioner — Reasonableness of Secretary of State's decision

(1993) 4 Med LR 94

The Queen v Ealing District Health Authority, ex parte F

Mental health — Mental patient — Mental Health Review Tribunal — Discharge — Deferred conditional discharge — Whether order final — Mental Health Act 1983 sections 37, 41(3)(5), 42(1)(5), 71(1), 72(1)(a),(b), 73(1),(2) and (7), 117(1)(2) — National Health Service Act 1977, sections 3(1)(e) and 85 — Whether health authority obliged to provide psychiatric supervision in community — Effect of intervening deterioration in patient's condition — Whether duty of authority discharged

(1993) 4 Med LR 101

M v Plymouth Health Authority

Practice — Discovery — Costs — Health Authority — Pre-action discovery of documents — Procedure to be adopted by solicitors — Whether an affidavit and itemised list correct procedure — Costs — Whether defendants entitled to costs

(1993) 4 Med LR 108

Fischer v Waller

Anaesthetist — Negligence — Res ipsa loquitur — Patient injured when eye perforated by needle used to administer anaesthetic — Accident a rare but known risk of procedure — Whether res ipsa loquitur applicable — Whether treatment given by anaesthetist met standard of care reasonably expected of anaesthetist of similar training, qualifications and experience at time procedure performed

(1993) 4 Med LR 116

Bull and Another v Devon Area Health Authority

Hospital — Negligence — Organisation and delivery of maternity services — Area health authority — Premature birth — Uniovular twins — Delay in delivery of second twin — Resultant anoxia (asphyxia) of second twin — Profound mental disability with spastic quadriplegia — Whether health authority negligent in provision of maternity services — Whether trial judge was correct to apply res ipsa loquitur principle — Limitation period — Considerable delay in bringing action on behalf of second plaintiff — Whether trial judge attached sufficient weight to delay of second plaintiff's action — Whether defendant health authority prejudiced — Evidence — Trial judge's discretion — Preference of testimony of one expert medical witness over others — Whether Court of Appeal could, without hearing those witnesses, substitute its own interpretation of evidence and thus interfere with trial judge's discretion

(1993) 4 Med LR 117

Hinfey v Salford Health Authority

Hospital — Negligence — Obstetrics — Delivery per vaginam of child in breech presentation position — Intra partem hypoxia of child during birth causing cerebral palsy — Whether health authority, through its servants or agents, exercised proper care and skill in management of birth — Whether obstetric team negligent for not effecting caesarian section as alternative method of delivery

(1993) 4 Med LR 143

Blyth v Bloomsbury Health Authority

Hospital — Negligence — Duty to warn — Contraceptive drug (Depo-Provera) — System for providing counselling, warning, advice on after effects — Whether system failed in relation to plaintiff — Information given to patients as to likely side effects of drug — Whether hospital failed to correctly implement system — Whether Bolam test applied.

(1993) 4 Med LR 151

Darley v Shale

Gynaecologist — Negligence — Laparoscopy — Clinical judgment prior to and during operation — Whether gynaecologist negligent in preferring laparoscopy as opposed to laparotomy — Whether gynaecologist made sufficient inquiry of plaintiff's surgical case history prior to deciding on laparoscopy as most appropriate course of action — Whether gynaecologist negligent in failing to detect signs that verys needle was in transverse colon — Whether causal link between laparoscopy and subsequent psychiatric disorders and depression

(1993) 4 Med LR 161

Kerby v Redbridge Health Authority

Damages — Bereavement — Hospital — Negligence — Hypoxia — Delivery of baby — Quantum — Double recovery — Whether under common law, trial judge correct to award damages for grief, sorrow, or distress which arose on loss of loved one

(1993) 4 Med LR 180

Marsden v Bateman and Others

General practitioner — Negligence — Hypoglycaemia — Diagnosis — Brain damage — Causation — Whether defendants' action were causative of newly born baby's brain damage — Damages — Failure to hospitalize infant immediately after birth

(1993) 4 Med LR 181

Nutbrown v Sheffield Health Authority

Damages — Quantum — Hospital — Negligence — Prostatectomy — Severe brain damage — Assessment of award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity — 76 year old male with 6 years' life expectancy

(1993) 4 Med LR 187

Stockdale v Nicholls

General practitioner — Diagnosis and treatment — Septicaemia — Duty of care — Whether general practitioner in breach of duty of care to patient in failing to take reasonable care, skill and diligence with regard to treatment, advice and attendance — Whether general practitioner negligent in failing to attend patient when requested — Causation — Whether failure to admit patient to hospital was causative of patient's complaint

(1993) 4 Med LR 190

Re K, W and H (Minors)

Consent — Medical treatment — Secure unit — Applications under Childrens Act 1989 section 8 — Whether unnecessary

(1993) 4 Med LR 200

Hamilton v Fife Health Board

Hospital — Negligence — Infant — Personal injuries sustained prior to birth — Whether when injuries were sustained deceased was “person” or foetus — Whether trial judge correctly interpreted phrase “personal injuries sustained by him” — Damages (Scotland) Act 1976, section 1(1) — Damages — Scotland — Loss of society award — Whether relatives of deceased had claim against health authority in respect of injuries sustained by deceased prior to birth

(1993) 4 Med LR 201

Snider v Henniger and Another

Gynaecologist — Negligence — Consent to treatment — Hysterectomy — Post-miscarriage dilatation and curettage (D&C) operation — Duty of care — Whether gynaecologist should have informed general practitioner and patient that bleeding from laceration in uterus wall could not be resolved by placing of suture over laceration — Vaginal bleeding — Whether gynaecologist should have performed a laparoscopy or laparotomy in order to discover source of bleeding — Hysterectomy — Whether gynaecologist under duty of care to inform patient suffering from vaginal bleeding that hysterectomy was possibility in future — Whether prior to operation blood transfusion should have been ordered — Whether gynaecologist and general practitioner were negligent in allowing too great a time to elapse between bleeding and surgery — Causation — Whether causal link existed between gynaecologist's failure to communicate with patient and her anxiety and stress — General practitioner — Whether general practitioner was negligent in failing to make inquiries from gynaecologist as to alternatives to hysterectomy or seek opinion of another gynaecologist

(1993) 4 Med LR 211

Stacey v Chiddy

General practitioner — Negligence — Diagnosis — Breast cancer — Duty of care — Whether failure of general practitioner to examine palpable breast abnormality, in exercise of his clinical judgment, was breach of duty of care — Causation — Whether patient's reduced life expectancy on diagnosis of breast carcinoma attributable to failure by defendant to properly examine patient

(1993) 4 Med LR 216

Taylor v Airport Transport and Warehouse Services Ltd

Negligence — Allylcaproate — Chemical sensitization — Exposure to chemical fumes — Causation — Whether exposure to fumes caused alleged personal injuries — Whether exposure to fumes materially contributed and was more than coincidental to on going health problems and decline in plaintiff's health — Whether plaintiff suffered from ailments prior to exposure to chemical fumes — Whether plaintiff could rely on egg shell principle

(1993) 4 Med LR 231

Tomkins v Bexley Health Authority

Hospital — Negligence — Orthodontist — Extraction of wisdom tooth — Lingual split technique — Lingual nerve damage — Permanent pain and numbness in tongue — Whether orthodontist negligent when burr of drill penetrated lingual plate of mandible and came into contact with and severed lingual nerve

(1993) 4 Med LR 235

Auckland Area Health Board v Attorney-General

Medical treatment — Withdrawal — Guillian — Barre syndrome — Patient on artificial ventilation support system — Whether artificial ventilation support system “necessary of life” — Whether it was “lawful excuse” to withdraw support when treatment lacked therapeutic or medical benefit — Whether “bodily injury” committed when system was withdrawn if doctor acted in accordance with good medical practice — Whether adherence to good medical practice gave rise to criminal prosecution — Homicide — New Zealand Crimes Act 1961, sections 151(1) and 164 — Hospital — Guillian — Barre syndrome — Declaration — Withdrawal of ventilatory life support system — Practice — Jurisdiction — Declaration — Whether court had jurisdiction to make declaration where criminal sanction existed — Whether declaration required to establish lawfulness of doctors' proposed disconnection of life support system — Exercise of court's discretion — New Zealand Declaratory Judgments Act 1908

[1993] LS Law Med 239

Dennis v UK Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting

Professional conduct — State enrolled nurse — Discipline — “Misconduct” — Criminal offences — Road traffic offences — Removal of name from professional register of nurses by professional conduct committee — Nurses, Midwives and Health Visitors (Professional Conduct) Rules 1987 — Competence of inquiry to consider offences for which absolute discharges were made by magistrates' courts — Appeal — Professional conduct — Nurse — Whether appellate court entitled to consider procedural irregularity even though ground not stated in grounds of appeal — Whether penalty of removal of name from register was too severe — Whether it was procedural irregularity that professional conduct committee failed to correct representative's misinterpretation of meaning of “misconduct”

(1993) 4 Med LR 252

Durrant v Burke

General practitioner — Negligence — Diagnosis and treatment — Hypernatraemic dehydration — Infant — Duty of care — General practitioner — Infant — Patient — Whether general practitioner was under duty of care to visit patient even though he had not been asked to by patient's mother — Causation — Dehydration — Whether failure by general practitioner to make second visit to infant even though he had not been asked to by patient's mother was causative of patient's brain damage — Standard of care — General practitioner — Diagnosis — Whether general practitioner failed to adhere to skills expected of ordinary skilled general practitioner

(1993) 4 Med LR 258

Re F (A Minor) (Blood Test)

Medical treatment — Blood tests — Minor — Paternity of minor — DNA profiling — Blood test requested by purported natural father — Application opposed by mother of minor — Practice — Discretion of judge to order blood tests — Factors to be taken into account — Whether judge erred in applying relevant principles — Whether it was necessary for appellate court to override discretion of judge

(1993) 4 Med LR 268

Re O (A Minor) (Medical Treatment)

Medical treatment — Blood transfusion — Respiratory distress syndrome in premature baby — Application to court — Practice — Application to court by local authority — Opposition to application by parents — Jehovah's Witnesses — Whether correct procedure was for order to be granted pursuant to Children Act 1989 or pursuant to court's inherent jurisdiction

(1993) 4 Med LR 272

Shaw v Wirral Health Authority

Damages — Quantum — Shoulder injury — State enrolled nurse — Injury sustained whilst attending patient who had suffered cardiac arrest — Permanent disability in right arm — Pain on posterolateral aspect of right side of neck and shoulder radiating down back

(1993) 4 Med LR 275

Lacey v Harrison

Practice — Unless order — Medical examination — Motor accident — Whether court had discretion to order examination — Whether discretion should be exercised in plaintiff's favour

(1993) 4 Med LR 280

Defreitas v O'Brien and another

Professional liability — Orthopaedic surgeon — Negligence — Diagnosis and treatment — Nerve root compression — Exploratory surgery — Whether orthopaedic surgeon was negligent in performing operations when there was no clear clinical or radiological evidence to substantiate requirement for operation to take place — Whether surgeon acted contrary to opinion of responsible body of ordinary medical persons specializing in spinal surgery — Professional liability — Neurosurgeon — Treatment of patient — Whether, following discharge of fluid from back wound, decision of neurosurgeon to leave open breach in dural wall was contrary to opinion of responsible body of ordinary medical persons specializing in neurosurgery

(1993) 4 Med LR 281

Fehr v Jacob and Another

Limitation of action — Knowledge — Bladder surgery performed in April 1976 — Plaintiff suffered pain from 1976 to 1987 — Second operation performed — Source of pain discovered, during second operation, as old calcified suture allegedly left in plaintiff during first operation. — Limitation period — Cause of action had to be commenced within two years of termination of professional services — Manitoban Medical Act RSM 1987, cM 90, section 61 — Legal proceedings filed in September 1988 — Whether plaintiff statute barred — Whether plaintiff could rely on discoverability rule — Manitoban Limitation of Actions Act RSM 1987 cL150, section 14(1) — Whether judge was correct to dismiss plaintiff's application to “commence and continue” case

(1993) 4 Med LR 299

R v Holloway and Others

Negligence — Criminal law — Involuntary manslaughter by breach of duty — Doctor — Duty of care — Injection of Vincristine and Methotrexate into patient's spine — Patient suffered from leukaemia — Patient subsequently died — Anaesthetist — Duty of care — Detached retina operation — Anaesthetist's failure to recognize signs of disconnection of breathing apparatus from patient during operation — Hypoxia of patient. — Appeal — Whether trial judge directed jury correctly on test to establish involuntary manslaughter by breach of duty

(1993) 4 Med LR 304

Re T (A Minor)(Blood Tests)

Blood test — DNA profiling — Paternity — Husband's application for blood test of minor and parents — Mother's consent to test — Whether test was in best interests of minor

(1993) 4 Med LR 318

Khan v Ainslie and Others

Limitation of action — Knowledge — Constructive knowledge — Reasonableness — Ophthalmologist — Acute angled glaucoma — Treatment by ophthalmologist of plaintiff's left eye with atropine drops in June 1983 — Delay between general practitioner receiving ophthalmologist's report and referral to hospital for operation — Unsuccessful left peripheral iridectomy performed in June 1983 — Writ issued on November 30, 1988 — Delay in commencing legal proceedings due to lack of legal aid and unfavourable expert evidence — Whether plaintiff had sufficient knowledge to institute proceedings against defendants in 1985 — Whether plaintiff was statute barred — Limitation Act 1980, sections 11, 14 and 33

[1993] LS Law Med 319

Broadley v Guy Clapham & Co

Limitation of action — Knowledge — Constructive knowledge — Reasonableness — Knee operation to remove “foreign” or “loose” body from knee — Post operative left foot — drop caused by nerve palsy — Whether patient had constructive knowledge in August 1981 for purposes of commencing legal proceedings against surgeon and hospital — Limitation Act 1980, sections 11 and 14

[1993] LS Law Med 328

R v Secretary of State for Health ex parte Goldstein

Judicial review — Accreditation — Higher specialist training — Rheumatologist — EEC law — Freedom of movement of workers — Restriction on advertising in United Kingdom that applicant was specialist in rheumatology — Failure of United Kingdom to implement First and Second Medical Directives — Whether proper implementation of directives entailed (a) publication in Medical Register of indicator specifying completion of specialist training; (b) publication of separate list of persons holding specialist qualifications; and (c) furnishing list to all other member states in European Economic Community — Whether way in which post basic medical training was organised in United Kingdom was contrary to United Kingdom's obligations under Community law — Whether “specialist” level of expertise and traditional concept of accreditation and consultancy was unlawful under Community law

(1993) 4 Med LR 335

Stacey v Chiddy

Professional liability — General practitioner — Negligence — Diagnosis — Breast cancer. — Appeal — Causation — Whether trial judge was wrong to find no causal connection between general practitioner's diagnosis of benign cysts in appellant's left breast and subsequent development of malignant tumours. — Appeal — “Loss chance of cure or near normal life expectancy” — Whether trial judge erred in failing to award damages for “lost chance of cure or near normal life expectancy” by failure of respondent to refer appellant to surgeon for specialist examination

(1993) 4 Med LR 345

Lindsay v Mid-Western Health Board

Negligence — Res ipsa loquitur — Brain damage following routine operation — Applicability of res ipsa loquitur — Burden of proof on defendants — Whether defendants had discharged onus on them

(1993) 4 Med LR 354

Saunders v Leeds Western Health Authority

Professional liability — Anaesthetist — Cardiac arrest — Brain damage — Res ipsa loquitur — Child, aged four, suffering a cardiac arrest at conclusion of operation — Whether normal pulse suddenly stopped — Whether arrest caused by paradoxical air embolism — Whether cardiac massage effectively performed — Whether decision to reverse anaesthetic and not to continue ventilation with oxygen was wrong

(1993) 4 Med LR 355

R v NW Thames Regional Health Authority and Others

Administrative law — Judicial review — Closure of bone marrow transplant unit in NHS hospital — Consultation — Whether health authority failed to comply with statutory duty to consult prior to closure of unit — Whether decision to close unit was unauthorised — Community Health Council Regulations 1985 SI 1985 304 Regulation 19(1)

(1993) 4 Med LR 364

Hogg v Hamilton and Another

Appeal — Striking out — Inherent jurisdiction of court — Whether appeal judge erred in dismissing appeal against order of registrar dismissing claim against health authority and anaesthetist for abuse of process — Negligence — Anaesthetist — Plaintiff suffering post — operative cardiac arrest which caused brain damage in 1976 — Claim dismissed in 1982 following instruction of three firms of solicitors — Whether plaintiff's action should be dismissed as abuse of process

(1993) 4 Med LR 369

Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority

Professional liability — Paediatric registrar — Causation — Failure to attend child with respiratory difficulties — Child suffering cardiac arrest and resulting brain damage — Registrar admittedly negligent in failing to attend — Whether registrar would have intubated if she had attended — Accepted medical practice — Whether judge bound to rely on evidence of experts available to him — Duty on plaintiffs to prove that doctor would probably have taken specific action, and that if she did not do so her failure was contrary to accepted medical practice

(1993) 4 Med LR 381

Hucks v Cole

Professional liability — General practitioner — Obstetrics — Patient with septic spot admitted to maternity ward — Tetracycline course prescribed by doctor — Septic spots not healed at end of course — Patient discharged — Development of fulminating septicaemia — Whether failure to prescribe penicillin was negligent — Consideration of medical practice where risks of grave danger knowingly taken particularly if risks could be easily and inexpensively avoided — Evidence — Expert evidence — Lacuna in medical professional practice — Need for court to consider reasonableness of practice

(1993) 4 Med LR 393