Payout for undiagnosed tumour woman

A woman who says she feels like a freak because of the effect on her growth of an undiagnosed tumour has won £1.228 million damages.

Kate Woodward, 20, claimed at London's High Court that her height of 6ft 5in had put paid to her ambition to become an actress and left her with significant medical problems.

Now studying for a degree in screenwriting and producing, she brought proceedings against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust over treatment received at St James's University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary.

The trust admitted clinical negligence but disputed the amount due to Miss Woodward, whose family now live in Sidmouth, Devon, arguing for an award of just under £700,000.

In his ruling, 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.

"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."

The judge said Miss Woodward, who weighs in the region of 24 stone, has missed out on many of the pleasurable activities which many young women enjoy, such as shopping expeditions and going to nightclubs. She has not had a serious relationship with a man and has written off the chance of it happening. She will need treatment for disabling pain in her back, hips and knees, which might result in her eventually requiring a wheelchair.

The judge said he was satisfied that, as far as her endocrine treatment is concerned, she will pay for it on a private basis, and the damages include the cost of obtaining that. The award also included sums for hand-made footwear, bespoke clothing and appliances, aids and equipment.

At a hearing last month, the court heard that the problem with Miss 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."