Kate Woodward awarded £1.2m over growth caused by undiagnosed tumour
- 1 August 2012
- From the section Leeds & West Yorkshire
A woman who grew to be 6ft 5ins tall because of the effect on her of an undiagnosed tumour has won more than £1m in damages from an NHS Trust.
The High Court heard Kate Woodward, 20, felt like a "freak" and had been left with significant medical problems.
She brought proceedings against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust over her treatment at St James's University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary.
The trust admitted clinical negligence but disputed the amount it should pay.
It had argued for an award of nearly £700,000 but must pay a little more than £1.2m to Ms Woodward, whose family now live in Sidmouth, Devon.
At a hearing last month, the court heard that the problem with Ms 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: "We say it is a case where you should approach the matter on the basis that her life has been ruined.
"Not taken away, not completely ruined, not in the same category as a brain-damaged tetraplegic, but in a whole series of ways her life has been grievously affected."
Mr Grime said his client had endured unpleasant treatment and still needed frequent injections, while the condition disrupted her childhood, schooling and friendships.
He added: "She is acutely conscious of her size and she feels it has marked her out as a freak."
In his ruling on Wednesday, Judge Stuart Baker said: "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."
He told the court that Ms Woodward, who weighs in the region of 24 stone (150kg), had missed out on many of the pleasurable activities which many young women enjoy, could not find clothing on the high street and is the subject of cruel comments from strangers.
Her low self-esteem showed in her description of herself as "a cross between a Michelin man and a stretched-out doll", the judge said.
He told the court: "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."