Harry was a member of the England School Boys Rugby Team, which toured Australia in the summer of 1997. This team included many present day internationals such as Jonny Wilkinson.
Before the tour, Harry began to suffer from bilateral knee pain. He attended the defendant hospital under the care of a consultant orthopaedic surgeon.
The surgeon investigated Harry's symptoms by carrying out MRI scans. He diagnosed Harry with patella tendonitis. He was given an injection of steroids in both knees.
After the first set of injections in June 1997, he took part in the Australian Rugby Tour with the England Schoolboy Team.
Following return to the UK in September 1997, Harry had a recurrence of the bilateral pain and attended the hospital.
This time he was seen by a more junior orthopaedic doctor who reinjected Harry's knees with steroids.
Seven days later, Harry came on as a second-half substitute for the Harlequins Second Team. He collapsed with a rupture of the left patella tendon.
Despite undergoing extensive surgery, Harry never played rugby again.
Harry had instructed previous solicitors, but in April 2003 Paul McNeil issued proceedings on his behalf.
The main contentions were that the steroid injections given by the second orthopaedic surgeon were delivered in the wrong manner.
Moreover and most importantly that doctor failed to tell Harry that he should avoid explosive sport or exercise for at least two weeks following the injections.
Liability was denied on the basis that it made no difference how the steroids were injected and there was no difference between returning to sport after one week rather than two weeks.
The defendant case was that the rupture would have incurred in any event. The action was fixed for trial for October 2004 but following a meeting between the parties representatives (at which Harry was present) the matter settled for £185,000 in July 2004.
The case was conducted on a “no win no fee” basis.
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