An important medical negligence test case is underway, which, if successful, experts predict could cost the NHS millions of pounds in compensation.
The medical negligence claim is unusual in that it deals with psychiatric injury caused not directly to the female patient who underwent an operation but to her husband. He says that he developed an “adjustment disorder” as a result of seeing his wife “looking like Michelin man” following a negligently performed hysterectomy performed at Liverpool Women’s Hospital in 2008.
The botched procedure left the woman suffering from peritonitis – a type of infection that causes significant swelling and bloating.
Fortunately, the woman eventually made a strong recovery but nonetheless received £160,000 medical negligence compensation for her pain and suffering. While in July 2013 her husband was awarded £9,000 at Liverpool County Court for the psychiatric injury he received as a “secondary victim”.
“His symptoms…were pathological and went beyond simply the distress and anger that a man would suffer due to the near terminal illness of his wife”, commented the judge at the time.
Now, NHS lawyers are now appealing the payout, arguing that it could have unwanted consequences on the future of the NHS, opening the floodgates to similar secondary injury medical negligence claims.
Furthermore, the lawyers argue, the level of shock was to be expected, given that the husband was visiting his wife in hospital.
“Hospitals on a day-to-day basis deal with people who are ill or vulnerable. They go there followed by their loved ones. It is unfortunately a matter of day-to-day occurrence that great emotional responses will take place in a hospital,” says the legal team.
This argument was questioned by one judge, however, who stated, “Simply going into hospital and seeing one’s loved ones and family looking peaky is not enough; to see one’s wife looking like the Michelin man is shocking.”
If you believe that the negligent actions of a doctor, nurse, obstetrician or hospital have caused you to sustain unnecessary suffering click here for more information from Healys Recover’s personal injury solicitors.