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Nadia Whittaker is successful in defending allegations of negligence, in respect of a failure to obtain informed consent for a vasectomy procedure

Nadia Whittaker instructed by Edward Dixon (Medical Protection Society) is successful in defending Dr Alan Lee, specialist in Vasectomy, against allegations of negligence by the Claimant, Mr Marc Ollosson, in respect of a failure to obtain his informed consent for a vasectomy procedure. The claim for damages for chronic testicular pain is dismissed following a trial on liability only before Mr Justice Stewart.

The Claimant developed chronic testicular pain following a vasectomy in November 2012 and alleged that he was not adequately informed about the risk of this outcome. The risk of chronic pain after vasectomy of the severity suffered by the Claimant was acknowledged by the experts to be much less than 1%. It was not disputed by the Claimant that a small risk of chronic pain was mentioned in the information booklet provided to him ahead of the procedure and also on the day of the procedure when he signed a consent form. The Claimant’s case was that the warning given to him about the risk was not adequate in that the magnitude of the risk and the range of severity of the possible outcome were not explained.

Mr Justice Stewart found that, whilst the Claimant and his wife are decent, honest people, their memory of what they were told was imperfect and that an adequate warning had in fact been provided. The Claimant lost because the Court concluded that he did provide his informed consent in accordance with the requirements set out in Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board [2015] UKSC 11. Mr Justice Stewart also observed that it is unsurprising that the Claimant’s perception of how he would have prospectively regarded the risk pre-operation was affected by the severity of his outcome. In any event, the Court found that, had more information been supplied to the Claimant prior to the procedure about the magnitude of the risk, he still would have gone ahead as there was a substantial imperative for him to find another means of contraception. Mr Justice Stewart’s judgment includes a useful summary of the principles relevant to an assessment of witness evidence in respect of hypothetical situations at [86]-[88].


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