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Hospital Healthcare Europe

Woman wins damages over infection

10 December, 2007  

A missionary who developed septicaemia at a UK hospital has won her court bid for damages against an NHS trust.

Rosalind Colwill, 54, worked in Nigeria, but came to Britain in September 2002 for her niece’s wedding.

She developed a fever and was admitted to the infectious diseases unit at the Churchill Hospital in Headington, Oxford, because doctors feared she may have contracted malaria.

But the care she received for what turned out to be a minor virus seriously damaged her “happy, active and fulfilling” life, James Badenoch QC told London’s High Court.

Miss Colwill, of Forest Hill, south-east London, then became infected after a cannula was inserted into her arm.

She then went into “terrible decline” and was admitted to intensive care at the nearby John Radcliffe Hospital after falling into a coma.

She is now partly paralysed, almost blind and has severe cognitive impairment.

Mrs Justice Dobbs ruled against Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust, which denied liability.

She found the trust was not negligent in using the cannula but said it should have been removed earlier.

It was also negligent not to recognise the infection and start a course of antibiotics a day earlier than occurred, she added.

The amount Miss Colwill will receive in compensation is now being assessed.

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Oxford Radcliffe Hospitals NHS Trust