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Wild v Southend Hospital NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 4053 (QB)

CitationWild v Southend Hospital NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 4053 (QB)

Judgment was handed down on 3 December 2014 in Wild v Southend Hospital NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 4053 (QB), a secondary victim psychiatric injury claim.

The Claimant, Mr Wild, was present with his wife at hospital when it was discovered that their unborn son had died in the womb due to the hospital’s clinical negligence in connection with the noting and recording of the baby’s rate of growth at ante natal appointments. The baby was delivered stillborn the following day. It was agreed that, but for the hospital’s negligence, labour would have been induced in time for the baby to have been born alive. Mr Wild sustained psychiatric injury due to the shock of being present when the baby’s death in the womb was discovered and at the subsequent stillbirth of his son.

The Judge dismissed the claim on the basis that the Claimant did not satisfy the control mechanisms for secondary victims derived from the post-Hillsborough disaster litigation Alcock case and applying the Court of Appeal’s decision last year in Taylor v Novo [2014] QB 150. It was not enough for the Claimant to have been a witness to the manifestation of the consequences of the Defendant’s negligence, i.e. the retrospective discovery that the baby had died in the womb. That does not equate with actually witnessing horrific events leading to a death or serious injury.

This is thought to be the first reported case applying the Taylor v Novo case in the clinical negligence context.

Charles was Counsel for the NHS Litigation Authority (for the Defendant NHS Trust) and he was instructed by Sejal Mehta of Browne Jacobson LLP.

For further information, please refer to the judgment in Wild v Southend Hospital NHS Trust [2014] EWHC 4053 (QB).