YAH v Medway NHS Foundation Trust [2018] EWHC 2964 (QB) (05 November 2018)

…on 9 July 2012 the C’s daughter… was born by emergency caesarean section. She was in poor condition…[1]

[daughter] has since been diagnosed with cerebral palsy for which D has admitted liability. [2]

This claim concerns mother, C… claims damages for psychiatric injuries associated with birth. [3]

D resists this claim and argues that C is not entitled to recover damages for psychiatric injury. [4]

The central issues going to liability are: 1. Whether C is, properly classified, a primary victim in law (the “primary victim” issue).

  1. If she is a primary victim, whether she must show that her psychiatric injury was caused by shock in order to recover damages (the “shock” issue).
  2. If she is a primary victim, whether the psychiatric damage that she suffered is too remote from the D’s admitted negligence to permit recovery of damages (the “remoteness” issue).
  3. Whether she has an alternative claim as a secondary victim (the “secondary victim” issue). [5]

C has always maintained that she is a primary victim. D has asserted, by way of denial of her claim, that she is a secondary victim…[15]

C is a primary victim. Accordingly, this claim falls to be determined according to the ordinary rules governing personal injury claims in negligence. It does not fall to be determined by reference to the Alcock criteria, which attach only to secondary victim claims. [25]

There is no requirement for a primary victim who brings a claim for “pure” psychiatric injury to show that the injury was caused by shock. [34]

What is in dispute is the precise trigger for C’s psychiatric problems… [36]

To resolve this dispute, it is necessary to consider the basic facts (which are not in dispute), the evidence from the Claimant about her condition over time, and critically the expert evidence adduced by each party. [39]
C establishes her claim for damages as a primary victim. [85]
C would not, if she was a secondary victim, have been entitled to recover damages. [86]

…judgment for C… [103]