- Secondary victim law update on what constitutes a ‘shocking event’ in a hospital setting (King v Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
PI & Clinical Negligence analysis: This clinical negligence case involved the court considering what amounts to a ‘shocking event’ as a matter of law to be a secondary victim and bring a claim for damages. The claimant witnessed his severely ill newborn son in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). He alleged what he saw met the Alcock criteria to bring a successful claim. The claim failed and was dismissed. The judgment is both a useful and rare example of applying the fourth limb of the Alcock test in a hospital setting following a negligent omission by a defendant hospital. The judge considered whether seeing a baby at risk of dying in a hospital setting can amount to a ‘shocking event’ as a matter of law. Written by Gemma Witherington, barrister at Hardwicke Chambers.
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