Bereavement damages: an award or an insult?
Alison Moore and Richard Lodge settled a claim concerning an inappropriate Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-pancreatograph (ERCP) for £100,000. The Claimant sustained a retroperitoneal perforation during an ERCP. This is an endoscopic procedure used to visualise the biliary and pancreatic duct allowing therapeutic treatment such as the removal of bile duct stones.
The ERCP, a potentially hazardous procedure, was unnecessary and inappropriate in this case because there was insufficient clinical evidence to support the treating doctor’s diagnosis that the Claimant’s gallstones had caused a blockage in his common bile duct. The correct treatment would have been to proceed to conservative MRCP or cholecystectomy (laparoscopic removal of the gall bladder) and had this been done the Claimant would have avoided his injuries. The Claimant was very ill following the perforation and consequent infection. He required two abdominal drains to remove bile fluid and underwent a short period in intensive care. He was left with pain and scarring and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
The damages were global but included general damages for pain and suffering, reimbursement of past expenditure and future losses, including loss of earnings and recognition that the Claimant would be restricted on the labour market and the cost of private medical treatment.
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