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Roughton v Weston Area Health Authority [2004] EWCA Civ 1509

Personal injury - Causation - Clinical negligence - Medical evidence - Medical treatment - Neurological disorders - Consideration of general medical knowledge - Effect of drug treatment - Reassessment of evidence

26 November 2004

The appellant (R) appealed against a decision that negligence by the respondent area health authority (W) had not caused a major exacerbation of her brain damage. R had been admitted to hospital for cerebral vasculitis, a rare neurological disorder. But for a conceded breach of duty by the second and third defendant general practitioners, R's hospital treatment would have begun 48 hours earlier. She had been treated with intravenous steroids and, five days later after a severe deterioration in her condition, with a cytotoxic drug, cyclophosphamide. By midnight on that day her condition had stabilised and remained stable thereafter. The question arose as to whether the brain damage she had suffered as a result of the deterioration would, on a balance of probabilities, have been less severe if the same treatment had been started 48 hours earlier. ISSUE Whether the judge had correctly reached his conclusion that earlier treatment with cyclophosphamide would not have prevented the su...

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