Girl who grew to 6ft 5in sues NHS for 'ruining life'


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The Independent Online

A former drama student whose dream of becoming an actress was "ruined" when she grew to 6ft 5in tall is suing the NHS for £2m for failing to spot her growth condition.

Kate Woodward claims the problem with her pituitary gland, which went untreated between October 2001 and September 2005, also gave her significant problems with her back, knees and teeth, and left her unable to buy high-street clothes or shoes.

Miss Woodward, 20, who is studying for a degree in screenwriting and producing at Regent's College London, now aims to get a job at the BBC. Her counsel, Stephen Grime QC, told Judge Baker, who is assessing compensation at London's High Court, that it was a very rare and tragic case.

He said that, as a young girl, there was a failure to diagnose Miss Woodward's pituitary tumour, which led to excessive growth, bone abnormality and a host of psychological consequences.

"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."

He continued: "She has had to give up the idea of being a performer herself, which was a childhood ambition. The likelihood is she would have wanted to have some kind of performing career. That is now gone."

Miss Woodward, whose family now live in Sidmouth, Devon, has brought proceedings against Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust over treatment at St James's University Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary, when she lived in the city. The trust has admitted clinical negligence but disputes the amount of damages due, arguing for an award of just under £700,000. The hearing, which is expected to last five days, continues.

In January, 33-year-old Sean Grinyer won £18,000 in damages from Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust after his ex-girlfriend accessed his medical records at the hospital where she worked as a healthcare assistant.