In Hearne v Royal Marsden Hospital, the High Court had to balance the evidence of multiple experts to determine whether and when a patient should have been given blood-thinning treatment.
Simon Dyer represented the Claimant, a cancer patient in 2010 who presented at hospital with stomach pains and a number of risk factors for venous thromboembolism (VTE). The risk of VTE was not identified and the Claimant suffered a pulmonary embolism four days later.
The Court heard from six expert witnesses on the question of liability. It was admitted that a risk assessment for VTE should have been carried out. The dispute was as to whether this would have led to blood-thinning treatment and, if so, when. Causation was also disputed.
The Claimant won on both liability and causation. The Court (where necessary relying on Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority  UKHL 46;  AC 232) rejected the evidence of the Defendants’ experts where there was relevant dispute. It found that the Claimant would have started receiving blood-thinning treatment the day after his admission to hospital.
Timing was crucial. The Court observed that had the treatment commenced one day later, the claim would have failed on causation.
Simon Dyer represented the successful Claimant in the four-day trial before HHJ Taylor.