The LCA held its 2nd Breakfast Club Meeting at Hempsons’ on 4th March 2020.
Duncan Dymond discussed a recent case where he had provided expert evidence in an Irish court. The Claimant (now Deceased), aged 55 with no known CVD risk factors, had been seen by a private GP having presented with non-specific symptoms and referred to a private hospital as an emergency. Over the next 9 hours there was evidence of an evolving inferior myocardial infarction and a previous silent anterolateral infarction. There was evidence of breach of duty in the delay in diagnosis, inappropriate investigations, a delay in referring to a specialist centre for PCI and then, once PCI was performed, the blocked right coronary after was not identified. The Claimant died on the day after admission due to cardiogenic shock.
Issues discussed included:
- Providing oral evidence, including visual evidence in an Irish Court;
- The absence of CPR in Irish Courts, specifically lack of disclosure with other experts;
- No joint statements with other experts pre-trial to facilitate a settlement with clear breaches of duty; and
- Medical insurance eligibility for UK experts in Irish Courts.
Gautam Chawla presented 2 recent cases, in which medical experts were strongly criticised:
- Thimmaya v Lancashire v Jamil in a judgement on 3rd party costs. This was a negligence claim in a spinal case where a poorly qualified expert made spurious claims in a poorly written and not well argued report. In Court the expert was unable to articulate the Bolam Test in determining breach of duty. Mitigiating factors, including a psychiatric history, are insufficient to prevent the Judge awarding costs of £95k against the expert; and
- Liverpool Victoria Insurance v Zafar in a contempt case. The expert was a GP who altered an original report on the extent of soft tissue injuries following a RTA. The Insurer of the Defendant brought proceedings for contempt and the High Court Judge found 10 grounds for contempt arising from the 2nd report and subsequent witness statements. The sentence was 6 months imprisonment suspended for 2 years. The Insurer appealed as they felt the sentence was too lenient, but the original sentence was upheld.