Hassell v Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 164 (QB) (06 February 2018)

Cl had a C5/6 decompression and disc replacement operation on 3 October 2011 (“the operation”) which was performed by… a spinal orthopaedic surgeon. C suffered a spinal cord injury during the operation which has caused tetraparesis and rendered her permanently disabled. C complains that D did not warn her that the operation might leave her paralysed and did not discuss other conservative treatments before the decision to have the operation was made, and says that the operation was negligently performed to cause damage to the spinal cord. D says that surgeon warned C about the risks of paralysis and discussed other conservative treatment options, and says that surgeon carried out the operation using reasonable care and skill. (paragraph 1)

The quantum of the claim has been agreed at £4.4 million and liability and causation are in issue. The real matters are in issue: (1) whether C gave informed consent to the operation; (2) if not, whether C would have had the operation in any event; (3) whether D carried out the operation in accordance with a reasonable and responsible body of spinal surgeons; and (4) if not, whether any failure to carry out the operation with reasonable care and skill caused the spinal cord damage suffered by C. (paragraph 2)

…D used reasonable care and skill in carrying out the operation, and that I am unable to identify the cause of C’s spinal cord injury. I find that C did not give informed consent to the operation, and that if she had been given information about material risks and conservative treatment C would not have agreed to the operation on 3 October 2011. In these circumstances I give judgment for C for the agreed sum of £4.4 million. (paragraph 84)