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Brian Magill's widow facing bill of £800,000 over failed medical negligence lawsuit

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A widow is facing a legal bill of nearly £800,000 from a failed medical negligence claim over her husband's death in a Belfast hospital 20 years ago

A widow is facing a legal bill of nearly £800,000 from a failed medical negligence claim over her husband's death in a Belfast hospital 20 years ago

A widow is facing a legal bill of nearly £800,000 from a failed medical negligence claim over her husband's death in a Belfast hospital 20 years ago

A widow is facing a legal bill of nearly £800,000 from a failed medical negligence claim over her husband's death in a Belfast hospital 20 years ago.

Bernie Magill wanted the High Court to cancel orders for costs made after her lawsuit was dismissed.

But a judge refused to set aside the statutory demand for £786,981 served by those she unsuccessfully sued over their treatment of Brian Magill in the final weeks of his life.

Mr Justice Humphreys said: "There is in existence a valid and enforceable Order of the High Court requiring the appellant to pay the respondents' costs of the unsuccessful proceedings."

Mr Magill, a 66-year-old retired bank manager, died at Belfast City Hospital shortly after Christmas 1999.

He had been transferred there from the Royal Victoria Hospital after first being admitted to the Ulster Independent Clinic.

Although a post-mortem report attributed his death to liver cancer, Mrs Magill blamed blood poisoning caused by a perforated bile duct.

She took legal action against the relevant health trusts, the clinic and medical staff.

But following a 45-day trial she fought without a lawyer, the High Court dismissed all claims and entered judgment for the defendants in 2010.

Mrs Magill then argued that the statutory demand should be set aside because the costs liability fell on her late husband's estate, rather than her personally.

She also contended that a further inquest into her husband's death, directed by the Attorney General in 2015, could result in different conclusions to those reached in the High Court trial.

However, in October last year the coroner in that inquest found, on balance, there had been no perforation of the bile duct. Mrs Magill lodged an appeal after a High Court Master refused an earlier bid to set aside the costs order.

Mr Justice Humphreys also rejected claims that liability rests with the deceased's estate, along with a further allegation of fraud.

Dismissing the appeal, he held there was "a debt immediately payable, and the appellant has failed to establish any basis for the claim that this debt is disputed on substantial grounds and/or that there exist other grounds upon which the statutory demand should be set aside".

Belfast Telegraph