Competence not credibility
Court finds that stress did not impair a surgeon’s ability to operate
The case of Laughton v Shalaby  EWCA Civ 1450 examines the extent to which the court can take into account factors of external origin when deciding a clinical negligence claim. Janet Laughton, the claimant, had a left hip replacement operation on 30 July 2007. The defendant orthopaedic surgeon used the antero-lateral approach method of hip replacement. This required the surgeon to detach the gluteus medius from the bone so that the artificial hip joint could be inserted and then to reattach the muscle.
After the operation, the claimant continued to suffer from a painful loss of mobility. During further surgery, another surgeon discovered that the muscle was not attached to the bone. The claimant therefore alleged that the defendant had negligently failed to reattach the gluteus medius properly, or at all.
At trial the judge preferred the opinion of the defendant’s expert that tearing away of the muscle (avulsion) was a recognised, although rare, complication following the antero-lateral method of hip replacement. The judge accepted that this…
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