Watson v Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust [2022] EWHC 148 (QB) (26 January 2022)

In this case C [aged 29] suffered a serious stroke in May 2015. She asserts that it would have been avoided but for D’s breach. D admits a breach of duty but asserts that the stroke would not have been avoided because the breach did not affect the outcome. [3]

The lead up to the asserted claim was that on the 27th of March 2015: “C got up to go to the bathroom, her vision became distorted, and she felt confused and disorientated. The left side of her face drooped and she could not speak clearly. Her left arm felt weak. She felt she was having a stroke. Her fiancée took her to the accident emergency department at the hospital”. It was asserted that (1) she was suffering from “a transient ischaemic attack” (TIA); (2) the hospital failed to diagnose TIA either as the primary or differential diagnosis and so failed to refer her to neurology experts for treatment; and (3) that C would have been prescribed Aspirin or Warfarin and would have avoided the stroke which she later suffered in May of 2015. [5]

In relation to causation C pleaded: “if (as D admitted she should have been) C had been referred… she would have been prescribed Aspirin or Warfarin. She would then have either avoided a stroke altogether or suffered a non or minimally injurious stroke.” [8]

In the defence dated February 2019 breach was admitted and causation was denied. [9]

I find on the balance of probabilities… that the cause of C’s symptoms on the 26th and 27th of March 2015 was migraine with motor aura (or hemiplegic migraine which is not familial). I consider that diagnosis to be more likely than multiple TIAs which triggered coincidental migraine symptoms. [122]

dismiss the claim and enter judgment for D [147]