Archive for June 2011

Prisoners win 10 Million Pounds in Compensation Actions

A report released by the Ministry of Justice has shown that more than 10 million pounds has been awarded in compensation payments to prison inmates over the past five years.

Although the large majority of claims are in respect of “processing” delays, leading to the late release of prisoners, four payments in excess of 50,000 pounds were made in the last financial year in personal injury compensation and more than 1.6 million pounds in medical negligence compensation.

A representative from the Ministry of Justice said “The vast majority of prisoners’ compensation claims are relatively trivial, do not merit financial redress, and are dismissed at an early stage. All claims are robustly defended, and would only be settled on the basis of strong legal advice, and in order to seek the best value for the taxpayer. Compensation would then be determined following judicial guidelines and a full analysis of the available evidence.”

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Seven Figure Compensation Award Anticipated for Little Joe

A ten-year-old Wolverhampton boy, who was brain damaged at birth due to alleged hospital malpractice, has won his battle for compensation.

Joseph O’Reggio from Wolverhampton, West Midlands, was born in April 2001 at the New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton. Prior to his delivery, Mr Justice Tugendhat heard at London´s High Court, Joe was starved of oxygen and suffered brain damage as a result.

The consequences of his birth injury left Joe with cerebral palsy, wheelchair bound and suffering from severe learning difficulties. The Court also heard how Joe is unable to speak or feed himself.

It was claimed in an action against the Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust that medical staff should have realised at an earlier stage that Joe was in distress and brought forward his delivery.

Although the NHS Trust denied that Joe´s injuries were caused by medical negligence, they agreed on the day before the trial was due to commence to admit 80 per cent liability for the claim, which will now go for assessment of damages.

Mr Justice Tugendhat approved the agreement, expressing his sympathy and best wishes to Joe´s parents.

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Cuts in UK Legal Aid to Threaten Clinical Malpractice Claims

Representatives of the “Sound Off For Justice” campaign have claimed that proposed cuts in the amount of financial assistance given to claimants in UK civil cases could have devastating consequences for the victims of medical malpractice.

Legal Aid has been available for citizens of the UK ever since the end of the Second World War, but the cost of providing this facility has now spiralled out of control according to the Secretary of State for Justice, Ken Clarke. The current level of Legal Aid in the UK costs the taxpayer more than 2 billion pounds each year, and Mr Clarke would like to see this figure reduced by 350 million pounds before 2015.

This would still mean that Britain spends more money on Legal Aid than any other country in the world however justice campaigners have highlighted the case of Andrew Green from Grimsby as the type of legal claim which would no longer receive financial assistance.

Andrew was born in 1997 with cerebral palsy due to medical staff’s delays in dealing with complications during his delivery. Because his family qualified for Legal Aid, they were able to pay for an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of his birth and eventually secure compensation which will cover the cost of Andrew´s care for the rest of his life.

Campaigners claim that cuts to the programme could leave many families financially unable to claim compensation where medical negligence has occurred. Lawyers supporting the “Sound Off For Justice” campaign also claim that victims in cases involving divorce, employment law and other forms of professional malpractice will also suffer.

Officials from the Ministry of Justice say that no final decision has been made on the future of the Legal Aid programme following a public consultation period which attracted more than 5,000 responses.

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DePuy Compensation Claim for Blood Poisoning Injury

A claim for blood poisoning injury has been made against DePuy Orthopaedics by a woman who received her DePuy ASR hip replacement system as recently as November 2009.
The DePuy claims action, made by Delores Hatcher from Wheeling, West Virginia, follows the results of a blood test in April 2011 which indicated high levels of chromium-1 and meta-cobalt in her blood – known causes of cardiovascular injury and neurological conditions such as headaches, confusion and cognitive decline, and possibly carcinogens which could lead to the development of cancer.

Delores added her claim to the growing number of Depuy compensation claims following the hip recall of August 2010 after visiting her doctor complaining of pain around her left hip and difficulty in walking. Both Delores and her doctor were overwhelmed by the outcome of the blood tests as the hip replacement was fitted in November 2009 and had failed in a short period of time.

In her claim for blood poisoning compensation, Delores also accused Johnson & Johnson – the parent company of DePuy Orthopaedics – of hiding known defects with the faulty hip replacement systems and alleges that they aggressively marketed the faulty hip replacement systems by paying kickbacks to medical supplies purchasers and orthopaedic surgeons.

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U.S. Merges DePuy Pinnacle Injury Compensation Claims

Despite not being included in the DePuy hip recall of August 2010, the number of DePuy Pinnacle injury compensation claims in the United States has grown so quickly that legislators have merged them into one class action suit – known as a “multi-district litigation” case (MDL).

Over three hundred DePuy Pinnacle injury compensation claims have been filed to date – an alarming figure considering that the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system was not introduced to the market until five years after the recalled DePuy ASR hip replacement systems in 2008 – with each claiming injuries similar to those experienced by patients affected by the DePuy hip recall.

One of the reasons for such a significant failure rate is that no clinical testing was performed on the DePuy Pinnacle hip replacement system prior to launch on the American market. A process known as 501(k) was used to introduce the faulty hip replacement system into the United States whereby DePuy were able to show that the Pinnacle hip replacement system was similar in design and function to an existing hip replacement product already being used in the United States – the subsequently recalled DePuy ASR Acetabular System!

The MDL for the DePuy Pinnacle injury compensation claims will be held at United States District Court, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division under Judge Ed Linkeade at a date still to be determined.

UPDATE February 2010: The number of claimants who have joined the MDL for DePuy Pinnacle injury compensation claims has risen to over 900. Unfortunately, a similar “grandfathering” process was used to introduce the Pinnacle hip replacement system into the UK and current advice from the UK Medicines Regulator is for recipients of the faulty metal on metal hip replacement system to have annual blood tests to check for high levels of cobalt and chromium entering the blood stream.

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