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Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board

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[2015] UKSC 11 UKSC 2013/0136 Montgomery (Appellant) v Lanarkshire Health Board (Respondent) On appeal from the Inner House of the Court of Session This appeal considered whether a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist was negligent in her management of the appellant’s pregnancy and labour and, if so, whether this was causative of the child’s brain injury. The mother of a child born with cerebral palsy sued a health board alleging that her treating consultant ought to have warned her of risks of mechanical problems occurring during labour. The mother, a diabetic of small stature, expressed concern to the doctor about whether she would be able to deliver the baby vaginally, and alleged that such concern should have engaged the duty to warn of risks. The defenders argued that only the risk of a grave adverse outcome triggered the duty and that, because the risk of such an outcome was so low and that an expression of concern was not the same as a direct question requiring a direct answer, no warning was required. It was also alleged that delivery by caesarean section ought to have been offered in response to a CTG trace, and that this would have prevented the child’s injury. The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal.
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