Insights / News
Insights / News
The claimant was aged 13, in Year 8 at secondary school, when his local hospital failed to diagnose a volvulus, or twisted small bowel. The delay in diagnosis and in operating led to the tissue death and loss of most of his small bowel. He was left with 30cm of small bowel, compared to the average of around 600cm. With competent treatment, and timely surgery, his bowel loss would have been avoided completely.
The claimant and his parents spent years building his case – including getting expert evidence from 7 different fields. While the claimant had returned to secondary school after missing around half a year, and had done very well academically at school and at university, his education was still adversely affected. As he will have to live with short bowel syndrome for life, he brought significant claims for future medical treatment and monitoring, and future nutritional supplements. There was also a significant Smith v Manchester claim for his handicap on the open labour market.
However the most unusual claim – and the largest in the case – was for his increased food costs, for life. The gastroenterology evidence (from his expert and his treating consultant) was that, because of his short bowel syndrome, he would have to eat approximately double the normal amount of food / calories to maintain his nutrition and a healthy weight.
Having to eat twice as much as normal – all day every day, at home, at work, and when out and about – was not as much fun as it sounds. It was also very expensive. The claimant quantified this claim via specific evidence, including from his weekly food shops, and general evidence, from the Office for National Statistics’ data on household expenditure on ‘Food & non-alcoholic drinks’ and ‘Catering services’.
The case settled for a substantial six-figure sum following pre-action negotiations, around the time of the claimant’s 24th birthday. While the claimant will have to live with the consequences of his short bowel syndrome for life, the settlement should provide some security for his future, as he starts his career.
Tom Gibson was instructed by Andrew Harrison, Partner at Hodge Jones & Allen.
Tom is a former solicitor, having qualified at Magic Circle firm Slaughter and May in 2010 before transferring to the Bar.
Tom has undertaken pro bono work for AvMA, the Bar Pro Bono Unit, the Law Society’s LawWorks Mediation Scheme, and the FRU. He appeared pro bono in the Court of Appeal, as sole counsel, for the successful appellant in Duffy v George  EWCA Civ 908.
To find out more about Tom, contact Paul Barton on +44 (0)20 7427 4907.
News 13 Nov, 2023