Another step in the long legal battle


Every step of the legal side of things has been difficult and strung out. When we initially sought legal advice in the days after Sofia’s death, we were gently warned that if we wanted to go down the legal road we would need to be prepared for it to take a year to 18 months in total. The first three months of that was to appeal the coroner’s original decision not to have an inquest, hopefully followed quickly by an inquest. There was no way our solicitor could have predicted that instead we would have to fight with the coroner and wait over a year and a half to just get to the step of having an inquest.

We didn’t have to wait for the inquest before asking the hospital for damages, but it was the more logical thing to do. If the inquest, as it did, held the hospital responsible for Sofia’s death, this would put us in a stronger position when suing the hospital. So this was put on the backburner while we waited.

Immediately following the inquest, the hospital issued a formal apology. For us that was admitting liability and we saw that the end was in sight; we would soon be able to close the door on our legal struggle. However, in terms of the damages, we needed to get a formal admission of liability from the NHS Litigation Authority. Our solicitor asked for this before Christmas 2009. We waited.

It’s difficult not to get frustrated or get angry because of the continued psychological stress waiting and waiting. Unable to feel like we can take good steps forward, to keep living our lives, and to find happiness again.

Finally:

04 March 2010, 11:09

Dear Mr…

Firstly and most importantly, I can confirm that I have received instructions to admit liability in this matter. Are you in a position to let me have details of your clients’ damages?

Secondly, I am sorry for the delay. Unfortunately, I had to undergo an operation and have been on sick leave. I say this by way of explanation only, not excuse.

I would hope, we can conclude this matter swiftly now to enable your clients to find closure.

Yours sincerely

Let’s hope we have a similar idea of the meaning of ‘swiftly’.

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