Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Payout for undiagnosed tumour woman

Kate Woodward brought proceedings over treatment received at St James's University Hospital

A woman who says she feels like a freak because of the effect on her growth of an undiagnosed tumour has won £1.228 million damages.

Kate Woodward, 20, claimed at London's High Court that her height of 6ft 5in had put paid to her ambition to become an actress and left her with significant medical problems.

Now studying for a degree in screenwriting and producing, she brought proceedings against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust over treatment received at St James's University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary.

The trust admitted clinical negligence but disputed the amount due to Miss Woodward, whose family now live in Sidmouth, Devon, arguing for an award of just under £700,000.

In his ruling, Judge Stuart Baker said: "My assessment is that the claimant's life has undoubtedly been severely affected to a very great extent and will always be very different from what she might otherwise reasonably have expected to look forward to, That will result in a substantial award.

"I do not in any way diminish the range and the breadth of ways in which her life has been altered but I must keep a sense of perspective.

"This claimant has the use of all her limbs and all five physical senses. She is intellectually capable of undertaking a full-time undergraduate course studying for an Honours degree which she hopes will lead into employment or self-employment in the creative world of scriptwriting. She is motivated to enter into a career, and to maintain as far as she can some control over her weight by a combination of strict dieting and taking exercise."

At a hearing last month, the court heard that the problem with Miss Woodward's pituitary gland, which went untreated between October 2001 and September 2005, led to excessive growth, bone abnormality and a host of psychological consequences.

Her counsel, Stephen Grime QC, told the judge: "We say it is a case where you should approach the matter on the basis that her life has been ruined. Not taken away, not completely ruined, not in the same category as a brain-damaged tetraplegic, but in a whole series of ways her life has been grievously affected."

She had endured unpleasant treatment and still needed regular injections, while the condition disrupted her childhood, schooling and friendships. He added: "She is acutely conscious of her size and she feels it has marked her out as a freak."

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