A woman is seeking compensation after taking over a claim for damages from a hospital patient. The patient, Alan Catchpole, contracted MRSA while an inpatient at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. He decided not to pursue the claim himself. However, he “sold” his right to claim for £1, to Mrs Jenni Simpson. Mrs Simpson states that her motives are not financial. Her late husband was also diagnosed with MRSA while being treated for cancer at the same hospital, and she says that she wants to see the trust's infection control procedures tested in court and to "heighten the appreciation within the hospital that it needs to deal with MRSA".
Her attempt to bring the claim on Mr Catchpole's behalf has been refused by two lower courts and is now being considered by the Court of Appeal. Counsel for the trust has argued that if Mrs Simpson is allowed to bring the claim, it will set a precedent that will create a market in which potential claims are bought and sold like commodities, increasing the pressure on the NHSLA to settle claims of dubious merit.
The Court of Appeal has reserved judgment and we will of course update you with the outcome of this potentially worrying case once the ruling has been delivered.