Clinical Negligence & Healthcare
“Provides exceptionally clear advice, and submissions that always make the most of your case.”
Simon Cheverst, RadcliffesleBrasseur
Michael is co-editor of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law, 3rd edition.
Experience & expertise
Michael balances a wide-ranging caseload that includes complex and high value clinical negligence matters for both Claimants and Defendants, affording Michael significant experience in cerebral palsy and other birth injuries, brain injury and spinal injury claims, and similar serious injuries such as those concerning the brachial plexus. Having been led and solely instructed on matters up to the value of around £10million, Michael also advises in professional negligence matters in personal injury and clinical negligence claims of significant value, and throughout his career at the Bar has acted in healthcare and related injury cases from Inquest to trial, and on appeal.
He also advises on the full range of dental and medical claims, from plastic surgery to neurosurgery, as well as product liability claims arising from breast implants, hip and knee implants, surgical mesh, and other medical products, alleged systemic failures within treatment centres, and NHS indemnity disputes.
Michael is often instructed at the outset of potential claims, in order to guide litigation strategy; to consider commercial concerns and goals; to provide advice on experts; and to draft seven figure Schedules and Counter- Schedules of Loss. Michael also frequently advises on experts’ agendas where breach of duty and/or causation is complex or there are overlapping personal injury and clinical negligence claims. Naturally, Michael undertakes advocacy in joint settlement meetings, final hearings and appeals, as well as all interlocutory matters, and has extensive experience of costs budgeting and detailed assessments.
Michael regularly represents the full range of Interested Persons at Article 2 and jury Inquests that involve significant clinical issues, and mental health services in particular; including NHS Trusts, individual clinicians, care homes, and families. Subject matters range from individual consultations to alleged systemic failures in care, including those resulting in self-inflicted deaths in detention. He also advises on Judicial Review of Coroners’ decisions. Having developed particular expertise and interest in psychiatric injuries and pain management, Michael acts as assistant editor of the Journal of Observational Pain, and is a contributing editor to the 3rd edition of Medical Treatment: Decisions and the Law.
cases & work of Note
- H v P (ongoing): representing a Defendant Optometrist in a claim for allegedly missed wet macular degeneration resulting in significantly reduced vision.
- CXC (a child by LXF , Litigation Friend) v XHX (2018): Michael represented a child Claimant as sole Counsel; securing settlement in the sum of just over £5.5milllion (when capitalised) for a below-knee amputation.
- D & D v Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing): representing Claimants in a significant wrongful birth claim, valued in excess of £10million; where the issues surrounding claims made for the duration of a disabled child’s life (as opposed to a claim for the child’s upbringing to the age of 18 alone, or a claim based on the duration of the parents’ lives) are considered to require the Supreme Court’s re-consideration of currently binding Court of Appeal authority. (Led)
- DCE & CMU v Epsom & St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust (ongoing): representing Claimants in a significant seven-figure injury claim, arising from a delayed response to an abnormal CTG trace, delay in performing a C-section, and uterine rupture causing significant oxygen deprivation and ultimately, severe cerebral palsy to the child, and physical and psychiatric injury to the mother. (Sole Counsel on the mother’s claim and led on the infant’s claim).
- G v West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (2016): representing a musician and music teacher who suffered negligent venipuncture, resulting in a neurological upper limb deficit. (The matter settled for £250,000.)
- M v Cardiff and Vale University Local Health Board (2016): representing the Defendant Local Health Board in an admitted claim for delayed diagnosis and treatment for a cleft palate in an infant, resulting in velopharyngeal insufficiency, and alleged delays in education and career. (The claim was pleaded at £250,000 but was settled at RTM for c. £120,000).
- CNG v Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (ongoing): Having acted for a Defendant Trust in a 3-week prison suicide Inquest invoking Article 2 of the ECHR, related civil proceedings are ongoing.
- P v East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust (2015): representing a mother following significant birth injuries that caused kidney failure requiring future transplantation; resulting in a £3.4million settlement. Issues included disputes over the Claimant’s likely career prospects in a particularly well-paid, but economically volatile and vulnerable industry. (Led)
- HK (a protected party) v Patel & Aviva (2015): acting for a protected party with traumatic brain injury. The matter settled at £500,000 at JSM following highly disputed expert neurological, neuropsychiatric, and neuropsychological evidence as to capacity under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
- E-B v University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust (2015): acting for the Defendant Trust on a claim pleaded at £1.7million for admittedly negligently reported cervical smear tests resulting in radical hysterectomy and other significant invasive treatment for an adenocarcinoma that subsequently developed without detection. Thirteen medico-legal experts were involved; and after expert conferences and service of further witness evidence, the matter settled just a few weeks pre-trial for only £350,000.
- LH v Wye Valley NHS Trust & NHS England (2014): acting for a family following the well-publicised death of a teenage girl due to inadequate asthma treatment. The matter settled, and resulted in a change in NHS policy, which previously permitted significant asthma treatment at Minor Injuries Units notwithstanding Minor Injuries Units’ lack of expertise. (Settlement sum undisclosed).
- W v Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust & Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust (2013): acting for a Claimant in three concurrent employers’ liability and clinical negligence causes of action against two Trusts following the incidence of Cauda Equina in a young mother. (The matter settled at just over £300,000 at a JSM).
- JKL v Whittington Hospital NHS Trust (2012): Appeared on behalf of the Defendant Trust on approval, arising from a claim for alleged negligent abdominal surgery, which ultimately settled for £1.25million without an admission of liability; and where the agreed damages represented little over 40% of the claim’s estimated full liability value; and anonymity orders were being sought.
- JH v London Strategic Health Authority (2012): JH suffered significant brain injury at birth due to untreated hypoglycaemia, resulting in learning difficulties, regular epileptic seizures, behavioural problems and a reduced life expectancy. As sole Counsel dealing with quantum initially, Michael settled the £7million schedule (including lump sums and PPOs), and was subsequently led at a joint settlement meeting, where the matter settled for a capitalised total of just over £6million.
- Hussain and 4 others v Ensign / QBE Insurance and others: Extensive fraud in road traffic personal injury claims concluded at trial (represented several Defendant insurers, successfully striking out Claimants’ claims after findings of fraud, and obtaining awards of exemplary damages for the insurers against all Claimants).
- M v East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust: Negligently consented and performed catheter ablation, which caused heartblock and the need for a permanent pacemaker. (Acting for the Claimant, scant published medical literature existed for what is a particularly niche area of expertise; matter successfully settled, with damages at c.£200,000).
- H v South Warwickshire General Hospitals NHS Trust: Misdiagnosis of Paget’s disease and breast cancer, where an aggressive metastasising tumour caused the death of a young mother. Causation was complicated by the incidence of early micrometastases (acting for the Claimant, matter successfully settled; damages undisclosed).