£1 MRSA legal claim25th March 2011
A woman is seeking compensation from a UK hospital after taking over a claim for damages from a patient who suffered from the MRSA superbug.
However, a court has heard that the case – involving the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital – could set a legal precedent.
Jenni Simpson of Kirby Bedon near Norwich paid £1 for the claim of Alan Catchpole, who contracted MRSA while undergoing surgery at the hospital in 2005.
The Civil Appeal Court heard she wanted to highlight alleged failures, however the hospital’s lawyer Jeremy Morgan QC warned that if the case was upheld it would mean others could buy cases for profit.
He said that potentially vast numbers of claims by alleged negligence victims could be bought and pursued through the courts by so-called "claim farmers".
He said such a move was against “public policy” and that it would lead to NHS Trusts defending claims by “impecunious” claimants, backed by legal aid or no win, no fee deals.
Mr Catchpole, 57, from Old Catton, near Norwich has decided not to pursue the claim himself, so Mrs Simpson – whose late husband John was also diagnosed with MRSA while being treated for cancer at the same hospital – decided to step in.
Mr Catchpole assigned his cause of action to Mrs Simpson, who has campaigned on MRSA issues, and she paid £1 to take over the role of claimant.
Her barrister Simon Redmayne said Mrs Simpson’s motive was not financial, but to see the hospital's infection control procedures tested in court.
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