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Janet Birch v University College London Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Court of Appeal - Queen's Bench Division [2008]

January 20, 2018

Birch was admitted because of vascular third nerve palsy and an angiogram by catheter was done with consent form signed but she was complicated by stroke in a neurosurgical ward. During the initial admission the consultant doctor recommended Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) but the time slot was unavailable and she was transferred to this hospital for further investigation and treatment.

 

Birch sued for negligence of the relevant body because reasonable 'alternatives' were not offered which includes MRI and it is much safer and less invasive when compared with the relatively invasive cathether angiogram.

 

Judgment held: (1) The decision not to use MRI was not negligent. (2) The failure to discuss the implications of the various imaging methods (including MRI) and the comparative risks of the 'alternatives' rendered the trust liable for breach of duty. The judgment was for the claimant (Birch).

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