A woman who says she feels like a freak because of the effect on her growth of an undiagnosed tumour has won £1.3m damages after bringing proceedings against Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust
Kate Woodward, 20, now studying for a degree in screenwriting and producing, claimed at London’s High Court that her height of 6ft 5in put paid to her ambition to become an actress and left her with significant medical problems.
She had received treatment at St James’s University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary.
The trust admitted clinical negligence but disputed the amount due to Ms Woodward, whose family now live in Sidmouth, Devon, arguing for an award of just under £700,000.
In his ruling, Judge Stuart Baker said Miss Woodward now weighs around 24 stone, adding: “My assessment is that the claimant’s life has undoubtedly been severely affected to a very great extent and will always be very different from what she might otherwise reasonably have expected to look forward to, that will result in a substantial award.
“I do not in any way diminish the range and the breadth of ways in which her life has been altered but I must keep a sense of perspective.
“This claimant has the use of all her limbs and all five physical senses. She is intellectually capable of undertaking a full-time undergraduate course studying for an Honours degree which she hopes will lead into employment or self-employment in the creative world of scriptwriting.
“She shows initiative and determination and has the impetus to seek opportunities for herself. She is motivated to enter into a career, and to maintain as far as she can some control over her weight by a combination of strict dieting and taking exercise.
“She hopes, in the next 10 years or so, to be able - after necessary fertility treatment - to have one or two children. Whether that will be possible or not will depend upon many factors which I cannot predict, but I can take note of the fact that that is what she would like to do.”
At a hearing last month, the court heard that the problem with Miss Woodward’s pituitary gland, which went untreated between October 2001 and September 2005, led to excessive growth, bone abnormality and a host of psychological consequences.
Her counsel, Stephen Grime QC, told the judge she had endured unpleasant treatment and still needed regular injections, while the condition disrupted her childhood, schooling and friendships.