Brain Injury Settlement – Morwenna Ganz
Michelmores' Bernadette McGhie secures High Court victory against 2 London GPs for brain damage suffered by young woman when she was a teenager
Morwenna Ganz, now 25 and living with her parents in the USA became ill during December 1999. She visited her GP's surgery in Teddington several times, and during a visit to Dr Childs on 18 December she was told she was suffering from a viral illness. Despite the fact that Dr Childs had noted the need to exclude pneumonia she took no steps to do so on that day.
Her condition deteriorated overnight and her mother called the out-of-hours GP service in the early hours of the following morning. She spoke to Dr Lloyd, a GP from the out of hours on call service, who reassured her that the previous diagnosis must be correct.
But as Morwenna became increasingly ill her mother called the out-of-hours service again early the next morning. She was quickly seen by another GP who immediately had her transferred by ambulance to Kingston hospital.
On her arrival at the hospital it was decided that she should be seen urgently by a senior doctor within 10 minutes.
But it was more than two hours before Morwenna received specialist treatment. During this time she had fallen into a coma and when she recovered consciousness she was severely brain damaged.
Morwenna was eventually transferred to Guys hospital.
Her family took out a legal case against Doctor Childs and Doctor Lloyd as well as Kingston hospital. The trial took place at the High Court last October and lasted for 9 days. But on completion of the case the judge, Mr Justice Foskett, withheld judgment.
The judge ruled that both Dr Childs and Dr Lloyd were negligent, and that had they got Morwenna to hospital earlier her brain damage could have been avoided.
He also found Kingston hospital were negligent and in breach of their duty, but his judgment is that he could not be sure that this made a difference to Morwenna because he could not say when the brain damage occurred.
So although the hospital is considered negligent, they will not be held responsible for Morwenna's injuries.
Now that negligence has been proved, unless settled in the meantime, the next step will be a 'quantum' trial to assess Morwenna's future needs and the value of the claim for compensation.
Although her intellect is preserved, Morwenna has a significant motor disability and is unable to speak, although she communicates in three languages through signing systems and computer technology.
She needs 24 hour care and is confined to a wheelchair. She has been unable to complete her studies although she has received secondary education.
She has been unable to go to university although this is a long term goal for her. She is totally dependent on her family and carers for help and assistance and she will not be able to earn in the future.
The Ganz family's legal case has been handled by Bernadette McGhie, a clinical negligence specialist and partner with London and Exeter-based Michelmores.
'Morwenna has a very supportive family with her parents, sister and brother, and despite her brain damage is a bright and bubbly character,' says Bernadette McGhie.
'The family are extremely close and this has helped them all cope with Morwenna's disabilities.
'But obviously the whole family is worried about Morwenna's future and who will provide for her care and other needs. As Morwenna's sister and brother and her friends grow up, she is increasingly aware of what she is missing out on in life as a consequence of her injuries.
Dr Childs and Dr Lloyd have appealed against the judgment.
Read the Evening Standard report: Court Victory for Woman Left Brain-Damaged by GP Blunders.