The claimant had undergone heart surgery as an infant in 1976, and claimed damages for professional negligence. The procedure involved a dangerous procedure, a resection of coarctation. As a consequence, the Claimant suffered a number of problems associated with neurological deficit and partial paraplegia.
Held: As to limitation, the knowledge required to satisfy s.14(1)(b) is a broad knowledge of the essence of the causally relevant act or omission to which the injury is attributable. This case would require sophisticated knowledge to attribute causality. The claimant could not have known of the omissions which led to his condition. The action was not out of time. The surgeon’s actions were in accordance with what other surgeons may have done at the time, and it was claimed that the omitted actions would not have made any difference. There were simply ‘differences of opinion and practice’ at the time. The action failed.
 EWHC QB 1
Limitation Act 1980 11(4) 13 33
England and Wales
Applied – Spargo v North Essex District Health Authority CA 13-Mar-1997
The test of ‘When a plaintiff became aware of the cause of an injury’ is a subjective test of what passed through plaintiff’s mind. ‘(1) the knowledge required to satisfy s14(1)(b) is a broad knowledge of the essence of the causally relevant act or . .
Cited – Parry v Clwyd Health Authority QBD 1996
The court preferred the more objective approach as to looking at when a plaintiff was to be fixed with knowledge of his injury: ‘If the purpose of section 14(3) is to create deemed or constructive knowledge in circumstances where there is no actual . .
Applied – Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee QBD 1957
Professional to use Skilled Persons Ordinary Care
Negligence was alleged against a doctor.
Held: McNair J directed the jury: ‘Where some special skill is exercised, the test for negligence is not the test of the man on the Clapham omnibus, because he has not got this special skill. The test . .
Cited – Maynard v West Midlands Regional Health Authority HL 1985
The test of professional negligence is the standard of the ordinary skilled man exercising and professing to have that special skill. Lord Scarman said: ‘a doctor who professes to exercise a special skill must exercise the ordinary skill must . .
Cited – Hucks v Cole CA 1968
(Reported 1993) A doctor failed to treat with penicillin a patient, the plaintiff, in a maternity ward who was suffering from septic spots on her skin though he knew them to contain organisms capable of leading to puerperal fever. Several . .
These lists may be incomplete.
Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.159874