Court of Appeal rejects Defendants bid to change Bolam Test

News | Mon 25th Mar, 2019

The Court of Appeal have rejected an appeal by a neurosurgeon against a finding that he acted negligently in administering anticoagulant drugs too early after surgery to decompress the spine.

The early administration of a blood thinning drug lead to a compressive haematoma that damaged the nerves in the cauda equina leaving the patient with incomplete paraplegia.

The trial judge, Martin Spencer J., in May 2018 described the surgeon’s approach to administering the anticoagulant as ‘cavalier’, but the surgeon appealed on the basis that the judge had not considered  the specific situation of the claimant, even though it was not his case that he had at the time either.

The Court of Appeal held that the trial judge had considered, and rejected, such specific arguments in favour of early administration as had been raised and the Bolam test did not require the claimant or the trial judge to deal with unspecified arguments that had not been raised, especially where the evidence was that there was no body of surgeons who would have administered the drug so early, let alone any reasonable body.

Grahame Aldous QC and Linda Nelson acted for the Claimant in Lesforis v Tolias at trial and Grahame Aldous QC represented her in the Court of Appeal. They were instructed by Stewarts.

The judgment of Mr Justice Martin Spencer in the QBD is available here.

The Court of Appeal judgment is available here.

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