It will come as no surprise that the NHS plays a paramount part in everyone’s life with many of us requiring hospital and/or GP input at various times throughout the duration of our lives. It goes without saying that many of us are indebted to the treatment and care that is provided to us by the NHS and we are lucky to have such an institution in place.

However, unfortunately there are occasions where the treatment afforded to individuals result in adverse consequences. This can and often leads to an investigation for Clinical Negligence. We have to be mindful that whilst on the surface it may appear negligent, not all adverse consequences are resultant of negligent care and/or treatment.

The recently reported story of Amy Allan demonstrates this point.

Amy was born with a genetic condition known as Noonan Syndrome which caused a number of heart problems throughout her life. Due to the development of Scoliosis, it was clear she needed surgery to reduce her pain and prevent it getting worse. The surgery, which took place at Great Ormond Street Hospital, was initially deemed to have gone well, but problems soon began to develop and tragically Amy died following the surgery on her spine.

At an inquest, the Coroner heard that the decision to intubate Amy so soon after her procedure was below standard and that there were signs to suggest that she should not have been extubated and not without the advice of a Consultant as had happened.
It wasn’t until nearly two and half hours later that the ECMO team (Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation) were contacted to determine the way forward for Amy. They had no idea that Amy was even at the Hospital, let alone having had such a significant procedure.
In his narrative verdict the Coroner ruled out negligent care but stated there was a lack of awareness regarding her case.

Clare Gooch of Stone Rowe Brewer LLP commented “when investigating a claim for clinical negligence, which may outwardly appear to be straightforward, we have to consider all circumstances within the prevailing legal framework. As described in the devastating case of Amy, this can be challenging for the families and clients involved as the legal threshold where negligence is proven is high and reliant on appropriate supportive evidence”.  Clare Gooch is a Partner at SRB with specific expertise in Clinical Negligence.
Clare would be willing to offer an initial phone consultation before any client chooses to proceed with a Clinical Negligence claim. Please contact Clare at c.gooch@srb.co.uk