Michelmores settle yet another Bristol Royal Infirmary cardiac case for £5.5 million

Following on from the case of AB, Michelmores' partner Laurence Vick and Michael Vian Clark have settled the claim of a 24 year old client 'CD' against South West Strategic Health Authority, for a figure equivalent to a £5.5 million lump sum. The settlement in AB, as reported on our website, was approved by the High Court on 22 June.  See full story below.

On 2 July 2009 the Honourable Mr Justice Saunders approved a settlement negotiated out of court by the parties following a successful trial on liability alone where judgment was obtained in CD's favour.  An Anonymity Order was also approved preventing publication of details that  might reveal the identity of the Claimant.

CD was born with pulmonary valve atresia, a congenital heart defect which meant that insufficient oxygenated blood was able to get to her brain. She needed a combination of palliative treatment to improve her short term condition and surgical repair to correct her cardiac anatomy.

CD suffered brain damage because the surgeon Janardan Dhasmana constructed a Gore Tex shunt that was too long so it kinked in the middle, but did not check for this before completing the operation, meaning the blood flow did not increase and CD's oxygen levels did not rise.

As a result CD developed white matter damage called periventricular leukomalacia or "PVL" due to hypoxia after the first shunt operation. She later went on to have a good anatomical repair of her cardiac defects.

After a successful 6 day High court liability trial, there were disputes between the parties about how much care CD would need and how long she would live. The case was listed for a quantum trial in October 2009 but the Defendant agreed to hold a round table meeting to discuss settlement in May 2009.

We are pleased to report that a compromise agreement was reached between the parties and this has been approved by the Court. As a result CD's extensive care and accommodation needs will be adequately met during her lifetime.

Laurence Vick of Michelmores was joint lead solicitor to the Bristol Heart Children Action Group, a group of more than 300 families whose children had lost their lives or been seriously damaged following heart surgery in Bristol, at what became the largest public inquiry in the history of the NHS held between October 1998 and July 2001.

The BRI chief executive in the period up to 1998 Dr John Roylance and medical director/surgeon Mr James Wisheart had been struck off by the GMC in that year for serious professional misconduct and Mr Janardan Dhasmana banned from operating on children.

www.bristol-inquiry.org.uk