Worrall v Antoniadou [2016] EWCA Civ 1219 (06 December 2016)

This is an appeal… the judge awarded damages in the sum of £14,378.47 to the Claimant/Respondent Mrs Claire Worrall against the Defendant/Appellant Dr. Helena Antoniadou. The Claimant alleged that she had undergone a breast augmentation operation in reliance upon negligent advice given by the Defendant, the consultant plastic surgeon who performed the operation. The enhancement effected, if any, was short-lived and within 10 months of the operation the Claimant was advised that a more invasive procedure, an uplift or mastopexy, was necessary. It was the Claimant’s case that prior to undergoing the relatively straightforward breast augmentation procedure she was advised by the Defendant that a mastopexy would not be needed for another 5-10 years. The Claimant’s case was that had she not received that advice she would not have undergone the breast augmentation procedure which she did, at the age of 28. She would have waited until her mid 30s and then undergone a combined breast augmentation and mastopexy procedure. (paragraph 1)

It is common ground that if the Claimant was given the advice alleged, that advice was negligent. No reasonably competent plastic surgeon could have given such advice and the Defendant denies having done so. The procedure left the Claimant dissatisfied with the appearance of her breasts which she said began to droop not long afterwards, although that is not really the gravamen of her complaint. The gravamen of her complaint is that, within 10 months of the operation, she was being advised that an uplift was necessary. Her complaint is thus that she underwent an unnecessary procedure which she would not otherwise have done which incidentally left her in temporary pain… (paragraph 2)

The judge found that the Defendant did not give the advice alleged. The judge did however find that the Claimant left her single pre-operative consultation with the Defendant with the impression that she would have at least 5 years after the breast augmentation procedure before a mastopexy would be necessary. The judge found that the Defendant, albeit unintentionally, allowed the Claimant to go away from the consultation with this impression and that she was in that regard negligent. The Defendant appeals. (paragraph 3)

…the judge came up with a version of events which was unjustified on the evidence, and which in any event did not result in a justified conclusion that the Defendant was negligent, since it was not demonstrated that the Defendant ought reasonably to have appreciated the misapprehension under which the Claimant was labouring. Having failed to prove her case, the Claimant’s action should be dismissed. (paragraph 35)