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A v Bottrill [2002] UKPC 44

Negligence - Personal Injury - Remedies - Damages - New Zealand - Exemplary damages - Under common law of New Zealand court’s jurisdiction to award exemplary damages in negligence cases not confined to cases where defendant intended to cause harm or was consciously reckless as to risks involved - Test for exemplary damages was outrageous conduct by wrongdoer - Claimant entitled to new trial on basis of new evidence of gross negligence by defendant

27 September 2002

The claimant A was born in 1968 and trained as a nurse. The defendant, B, was a pathologist, responsible for examining cervical smear tests. Between November 1990 and December 1994 B examined four smears taken from A. In November 1990 B reported low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) and in December 1990 ‘no atypical cells seen’. He gave a similar report on examination of the third smear in May 1992. In December 1994 he reported high grade SIL and recommended referral for assessment. Following investigation A was diagnosed as suffering from invasive cervical cancer. She received extensive treatment including a radical hysterectomy and extensive radiotherapy. Subsequent investigation revealed that all four smears had been misread or misreported by B. The first three should have been reported as showing high grade SIL and the fourth invasive carcinoma. High grade SIL, which was curable but which would progress to invasive cancer without intervention, was present as early as ...

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