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Kept in the Dark by Your Doctor? Consult a Solicitor Without Delay

Doctors are obliged to inform their patients of all available treatment options and, if you feel you have been kept in the dark, you should consult a solicitor without delay. In one case, a soldier who was not told that his hearing problems might be alleviated by surgery was awarded over £170,000.

The man was an expert in working with military drones and had high hopes of being posted abroad on active service. However, after he developed hearing loss, he was consigned to a non-operational role and was eventually discharged from the Army on medical grounds. A subsequent operation brought an immediate improvement in his condition and relief from psychiatric issues he had also endured.

After he launched proceedings, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) accepted that Army decision makers had acted negligently in wrongly ascribing his difficulties to noise-induced hearing loss. A military doctor had previously correctly diagnosed his condition as having no inner-ear involvement, but was negligent in failing to advise him that he could be treated by surgery. An NHS doctor had also been negligent in failing to explore a surgical option with him.

The High Court noted that, prior to the operation being successfully performed, he had suffered about six years and eight months of hearing loss. But for the multiple negligent failures, he would have undergone surgery earlier and returned to active duty as a soldier, become a drone instructor or pursued some other rewarding career path within the Army. He instead lost the military career he greatly enjoyed and suffered symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The MoD was ordered to pay him £171,615 in damages, including almost £140,000 for loss of earnings, pension rights and other Army benefits, £9,000 for psychiatric injuries and £7,500 for loss of congenial employment. An NHS trust was ruled jointly liable to pay £162,022 of the total damages.