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Clinical negligence update

Dr Jock Mackenzie explores a recent case involving a claimant practitioner’s reliance on res ipsa loquitur

21 November 2011

Claimant clinical negligence practitioners rarely rely upon the maxim res ipsa loquitur when advancing a case, but a recent judgment, Paula Thomas v Paul Curley [2011] EWHC 2103 (QB), suggests that it still has its uses in the right circumstances.

The claimant claimed against a consultant general and vascular surgeon alleging primarily that he had caused an iatrogenic injury to her common bile duct (CBD) during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy on 10 October 2005. A secondary allegation related to the claimant’s treatment between 19 and 21 October 2005 by failing to require fluid balance and renal monitoring of her condition.

The defendant appropriately performed a laparoscopic cholecystectomy for biliary colic due to a gallstone in the claimant’s gallbladder. During the procedure, the defendant found a non-inflamed gallbladder and a single gallstone, and noted that the cystic duct came from the right hepatic duct rather than the CBD, a known but rare anatomica...

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