Watts v North Bristol NHS Trust [2022] EWHC 2048 (QB) (29 July 2022)

A appeals against a decision of HHJ Ralton dated 6 December 2019, dismissing his claim for clinical negligence. [1]

D Trust [R] was alleged to be liable for acts and omissions of a consultant orthopaedic spinal surgeon who advised and treated A for back and leg pain. [2]

R conducted a pre-operative consultation with A on 27 March 2014 and carried out spinal fusion surgery on 29 April 2014. Although it is now agreed that the surgery was carried out competently, it was unfortunately not successful in that A has been left with pain and limited mobility which are worse than before the operation. [3]

A set out to prove (1) that R did not obtain his informed consent for the surgery by providing information about any alternative procedures, (2) that if such information had been provided, he would have elected to undergo the less invasive procedure of microdiscectomy rather than spinal fusion and (3) that carrying out the spinal fusion procedure has resulted in pain and suffering and very considerable loss for him which, or most of which, would not have been incurred if he had undergone microdiscectomy instead. [4]

J found in A’s favour on the first issue. When proposing spinal fusion R failed in his duty to identify the reasonable options together with their advantages and disadvantages. In this case the reasonable option was microdiscectomy. Although this was mentioned or known about, R not sufficiently advise on its pros and cons and in reality did not present A with any real option other than spinal fusion. [5]

A lost on the second and third issues. [6]

the appeal must be dismissed [84]