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The judge is still criticising the medical experts
  • Mar 8, 2022
  • Latest News

By Alec Samuels

Alas, the judge is still criticising the medical experts. The case involved allegations of clinical negligence in an aortic valve replacement case, arising out of a comparatively rare procedure.

The judge said that the cardiothoracic experts had good knowledge of the speciality, were successful, held themselves to very high standards, were entitled to respect, and were confident of their professional judgement.

 However, they displayed unhelpful characteristics. One expert greatly exaggerated. He rejected the opposing view, claiming that it had been shown to be unsound and “relegated to the history books”, a view found by the judge not to be supported by the literature and by a responsible body of professional opinion.

The expert did not allow for possible alternative views which the evidence showed were held by a responsible body of professional opinion.  

A medical witness should produce his evidence in good time, and was expected to be consistent.

The judge expects the experts to identify the relevant issues in the case, to narrow them so far as sensible, and to agree so far as they can.  The judge received no help from the experts in this matter, and was obliged to identify the issues herself.  

Negus and Brambridge v Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust [2021] EWHC 643, QB, [2021] Med LR 448, paras 58-63.

© Alec Samuels