A Mediation Resolves a Dispute
The Claimant to this claim collapsed in their kitchen on 13 March 2015 and started to complain of a headache along with strange sensations in their arms. Their speech became slow and sluggish and they attended A&E on 15 March 2015 after their partner became concerned about them. The Claimant’s medical records demonstrate that they were treated by Dr X and the Claimant was said to be ‘confused and not behaving normally’. Their presenting symptoms were stress, slow speech, loss of appetite, and a right temporal headache. The Claimant also had a background history of arthritis. There was no evidence of urinary symptoms or abdominal pain and the Claimant’s blood and urine tests were recorded as normal. Dr X carried out an examination of the Claimant which confirmed that there were no neurological symptoms, and so on this basis, a diagnosis was made of acute stress reaction.
The Claimant was discharged and referred to their GP for blood pressure monitoring. On 20 March 2015, the Claimant attended an appointment with their GP and a CT scan was arranged. This scan took place on 14 April 2015 and confirmed that the Claimant had suffered a subacute infarction (a stroke) in the right cerebral hemisphere.
Considering such, a Letter of Claim was issued by the Claimant’s legal representatives on 17 January 2018 in relation to the Claimant’s above-mentioned consultation with Dr X on 15 March 2015. The Trust was named as the First Defendant to the claim, and Dr X was named as the Second Defendant to the claim. The Claimant alleges that Dr X breached their duty of care towards the Claimant as they failed to apply a ‘fast test’ considering their speech abnormality; consider Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA); and perform an ABCDE2 assessment. The Claimant believes they had a history of being FAST/ROSIER/ABCDE2 positive during their A&E attendance as they developed a headache, vomited and became confused.
As required, Dr X submitted a formal response to the Letter of Claim and was subsequently served with the Claimant’s particulars of claim. Dr X filed and served a defence in response to the particulars of claim.
MDS ADVICE & OUTCOME
The initial costs and case management conference (‘CCMC’) was listed for 10 February 2020; however, this was vacated as all parties were agreeable to a 6-month stay in the proceedings to allow the parties to obtain expert evidence and consider quantum. The CCMC was re-listed and stayed a number of times however, in May 2021, all parties agreed to alternative dispute resolution (‘ADR’); specifically, mediation.
Mediation took place on 30 November 2021 and the claim was settled. The CCMC was fully vacated and the claim was withdrawn. The settlement agreements were signed and filed at court and it was agreed that the Trust would discharge all liabilities to the Claimant on behalf of Dr X so that the claim could be immediately discontinued against Dr X. The Trust agreed to a contribution of £30,000 from Dr X over 18 months, in settlement of Dr X’s contribution to the damages, costs and CU liabilities.
- Mediation consists of negotiation between disputing parties, assisted by a neutral third party (‘a mediator’) and it is defined as: ‘the intervention into a dispute or negotiation by an acceptable, impartial and neutral third party (with no decision-making power) to assist disputing parties in voluntarily reaching their own mutually acceptable settlement of issues in dispute’.
- Mediation and ADR can be helpful in settling a claim out of court – this can be beneficial to parties, depending on the strengths and weaknesses of their case, by saving time and expense and avoiding long and drawn-out court proceedings
- In clinical negligence claims, all parties must consent in order for mediation to proceed.