In a judgment handed down on Friday 16 June 2017, His Honour Judge Worster ruled in favour of Mrs Lynn Scaddon in her negligence claim against gynaecologist Phillip Morgan involving a delay in treating a prolapsed uterine fibroid following a two day trial in the High Court in March 2017. Mrs Scaddon was represented by Fieldfisher's Arti Shah.
In July 2010, Mrs Scaddon, who is married with four children, was examined by Mr Morgan following four months of heavy vaginal bleeding and stomach pain so severe it caused her to be sick. In a call to the out-of-hours GP clinic, Mrs Scaddon said she felt that something may have 'burst' inside her.
Mr Morgan saw Mrs Scaddon in his private clinic at the Fairfield Independent Hospital. By then, she was so tense that Mr Morgan did not fully perform the abdominal, speculum and bimanual examinations that would be expected in such a case.
There was detailed evidence given on growth rates of fibroids by the experts in the case, and the judge indicated that he clearly preferred the evidence of the Claimant's expert, Mr Lane, who he described as "the more experienced and expert". The Defendant's expert deferred to him on a number of points.
The judge accepted the evidence that Mr Morgan failed to spot that an 8cm fibroid had burst through Mrs Scaddon's cervix, causing extreme pain and bleeding. Further, he did not arrange urgent investigation in the form of a hysteroscopy, which should have taken place within two weeks, and which would also have identified the prolapsed fibroid.
This delay meant that she had to endure seven more months of severe pain, ongoing bleeding and significant anxiety until she was seen by a different doctor who recognised her condition and arranged for the necessary hysterectomy to be performed urgently under his care.
His Honour Judge Worster, having considered the expert evidence and that of Mrs Scaddon and Mr Morgan, concluded Mr Morgan had been negligent in not spotting the prolapse. This failure caused a seven-month delay in treatment, forcing Mrs Scaddon to endure additional physical discomfort and prompting an anxiety disorder that badly affected her life.
Despite several offers from Fieldfisher to settle the case at a much earlier stage in the litigation process, Mr Morgan's solicitors were determined to proceed to trial. They will now bear the cost of £20,000 damages plus the costs of the case.
At the end of the case, Arti Shah said, "This was a modest value claim which was capable of settlement at an early stage. Unfortunately, Mr Morgan's lawyers made it clear that they did not want to engage in negotiations, and put us in the position where we were forced to go to trial. It has been a long and stressful process for Lynn, and I am very pleased that she has ultimately been successful in her claim."
Lynn added, "May I take this opportunity to express a heartfelt thank you for everything. It's been quite a journey in which Arti has worked tirelessly - every step of the way she has given me excellent advice, offered encouragement & support, and shown me great understanding & compassion, no one could have done more. She is a credit and a star, that has a fantastic team and I am truly going to miss you all. I will never be able to thank you enough."
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