Inquests & Public Inquiries
Tom has substantial experience of Inquests. He advises and appears in inquests concerned with potential breaches of health & safety legislation. He is also regularly instructed to represent the interest of medical professionals and medical institutions such as NHS Trusts.
Inquest into the death of DL
Tom appeared on behalf of a GP who prescribed paraffin based emollients to an elderly, bed-bound woman, who was known to smoke in bed, at an inquest concerning the death of the individual in a house fire. The inquest lasted one week and considered evidence from fire officers, fire investigation officers, medical professionals and care workers. Among the many issues considered at the inquest was whether the use of a paraffin based emollient may have contributed to the fire. The coroner recorded a conclusion of accidental death and made no criticism of Tom’s client.
Inquest into the death of BH
Tom represented Abbey Court Independent Hospital at an inquest into the death of a 77-year old patient suffering from dementia. The case involved complex issues including the medical cause of death and the pathological definition of starvation. The Court also heard from two expert independent psychiatrists about the consequences of dementia upon appetite, the potential alternatives for artificial nutrition and the appropriateness of any such treatment. The jury returned a conclusion of ‘Natural Causes’.
Inquest into the death of PI
Tom represented a GP in relation to the death of a young woman who suffered from anorexia nervosa. The case involved expert evidence on the effects of anorexia nervosa on the potassium levels in the body and on the consequent effects of severe hypokalaemia (low potassium) on cardiac function
Tom was instructed as led junior by The Football Association in the Hillsborough inquests. These Inquests in to the deaths of 96 people at Hillsborough Stadium in 1989 are the longest in English legal history and have produced in excess of 500,000 pages of evidence.
Other recent instructions include
- Tom has advised a senior member of the Conservative Party
- Tom is currently instructed to represent an independent Hospital in relation to the death of one of its patients. The inquest is to be heard before a jury and will consider complicated questions of capacity, consent, Mental Health Act assessments and Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards.
- Tom represented a GP at a two week inquest into the death of young man who took his own life by inhaling propane. The GP’s conduct in prescribing a different anti-depressant two weeks before his death had been the subject of a referral to the GMC. Having heard questioning of a number of consultant psychiatrists concerning the pharmacological effects of this change and the manner in which the change was conducted, the Coroner found that the actions of the GP were not inappropriate and had not caused or contributed to the death.
- Representing a prison GP in relation to the death of an inmate by hanging. The case lasted two weeks before a jury. The coroner, after receiving written submissions, did not leave any questions to the jury regarding the GP’s conduct. The case also involved examination of an expert psychiatrist and two expert GPs: one instructed by the coroner, the other on behalf of the prison GP. The case also involved consideration of SystemOne.
- Representing a London NHS trust in relation to the death of a patient who was being treated by the trust – the case raised particular issues about the use of recreational drugs alongside prescription medication.
- Representing the GP and locum GP with care for a patient with a history of suicidal ideation who took an overdose of prescribed medication.
- Representing a GP in relation to the death of an elderly lady in hospital as after admission to treat a leg ulcer. There was a dispute of fact between the GP and the family of the deceased which was resolved in the GP’s favour. Originally it had been suggested that the GP’s failure may have contributed to the death but in conclusion the coroner rules that the death was inevitable and the treatment provided by the GP was appropriate.
- Representing a GP in relation to the death of an individual as a result of an overdose of quetiapine. The GP had prescribed Quetiapine – the case particularly concerned issues with SystemOne.
- Representing a GP in relation to the death of a 17 year old following a cardiac arrest in the context of an eating disorder and hypokalaemia.
- Representing a consultant in acute medicine in relation to the death of an individual arising out of anaphylactic shock. The coroner had indicated that consideration would be given at the inquest to a finding of a neglect in relation to the consultant’s conduct. After early advice and obtaining expert reports in relation to immunology the coroner concluded that the death was inevitable and made no criticism of the consultant.