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Case Comment on Hassell v Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 164 (QB) - Lucile Taylor

19/02/18. Facts: The claim arose out of the C5/6 decompression and disc replacement operation performed by the Defendant, a spinal orthopaedic surgeon, on the Claimant, who was, at the time, working full time as a head of years 7, 8 and 9 at a local secondary school.

During the operation, the Claimant suffered a spinal cord injury which caused tetraparesis, rendering the Claimant permanently disabled. The quantum of the claim was agreed at £4.4 million with liability and causation in dispute.


There were four issues to be decided:

  1. whether the Claimant gave informed consent to the operation;

  2. if not, whether she would have had the operation in any event;

  3. whether the operation was properly performed;

  4. if not, whether the negligence caused the spinal cord injury.


Mr Justice Dingemans gave judgment for the Claimant. He held on (1) that, following Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11, the Claimant did not give informed consent to the operation: the Defendant had not told the Claimant about the material risk of paralysis, nor had he provided information on alternative conservative treatments.

On (2), causation was established on the basis of...


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