Campbeltown dad loses £900,000 compensation claim

Court of Session Edinburgh. Photo Kim Traynor.

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A young father who believes a hip operation caused his life to be destroyed has lost a £900,000 compensation claim against Scotland’s largest health board.

Kevin Dunn, 39, attempted to sue Greater Glasgow Health Board for the sum after  experiencing difficulties he says followed a procedure in January 2015.

Mr Dunn of Campbeltown told judge Lord Braid at the Court of Session that his health worsened after a surgeon carried out an arthroscopy.

Mr Dunn previously worked at three jobs in the town but claims he had to give them all up due to the pain he was experiencing.

In an interview given to a newspaper last year, Mr Dunn said he became addicted to opioid painkillers and his wife gave up work to become his full-time carer. He also told of how he needed a wheelchair to go outside.

But in a judgement issued on Tuesday at the Edinburgh-based court, Lord Braid refused to allow Mr Dunn to continue his case against the health board.

The judge concluded that Mr Dunn’s case did not meet legal tests needed to prove his case and said that Mr Dunn could not prove that it was the procedure itself that caused his pain.

He wrote: ‘It is in relation to the second aspect, which is whether the procedure caused his subsequent pain, that the pursuer’s case runs into difficulties.

‘Apart from a fleeting reference to bursitis which the pursuer avers he developed as a result of the procedure, the pursuer makes no averments whatsoever about how, or in what respect, the procedure not only did not improve his symptoms but made them worse.

‘I agree with the submission made by counsel for the defenders that the pursuer’s case proceeds upon an assumption that because his pain is worse now than it was before, the procedure must have been the cause but that simply does not follow, either as a matter of logic, or as a matter of medical science.’

Mr Dunn’s health problems began when was on holiday in October 2013 with his wife and stepson and he began feeling pain and tightness in his left hip.

An X-ray on his return home revealed an extra bit of bone at the top of his femur. He was sent for further scans and was referred to the Western Infirmary Hospital in Glasgow in October 2014 where he said a doctor told him he’d be playing football within six weeks.

He said he wasn’t told about possible complications and as a consequence doctors hadn’t properly obtained consent for the operation.

Doctors operated on Mr Dunn at Glasgow’s Gartnavel General Hospital in January 2015 but he still remains in pain.

He told the Herald newspaper last year: ‘Had I been given the correct information in the first place, I wouldn’t be in this position now: I wouldn’t be looking at a life sentence of pain; I wouldn’t be fighting every single day to keep my mental health; my wife would be my wife and not my carer. Her whole life has been turned upside down.

‘I haven’t done anything that a normal parent would do, especially at my age. I should be in my prime.’

Lawyers for Greater Glasgow Health Board told Lord Braid that the action should be dismissed.

Lord Braid agreed and wrote: ‘It appears that the pursuer does hold a view as to what it was about the operation that caused his pain. These assertions are nowhere to be found in the pleadings, and the pursuer would not be allowed to lead evidence of those assertions at any proof which might take place.

‘It would in any event be inappropriate for the pursuer to include in his pleadings any assertions or averments along these lines, since he quite candidly and properly accepts that he has no expert medical witness who is prepared to write a report or to give evidence to that effect.

‘For all of the foregoing reasons, I have sustained the defenders’ first plea-in-law and dismissed the action as irrelevant and lacking in specification.’