6ft 5in woman pursues £2m damages claim


A woman who feels like a freak because of the effect on her growth of an undiagnosed tumour is claiming £2 million damages.

Kate Woodward says her height of 6ft 5in has put paid to her ambition to become an actress.

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 clothes or shoes on the high street.

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."

She endured unpleasant treatment and still needs regular injections, and the condition disrupted her childhood, schooling and friendships.

"She has had to give up the idea of being a performer herself, which was a childhood ambition.

"She was one of those precocious youngsters who, even before secondary school, was writing scripts and performing in front of her family.

"The likelihood is she would have wanted to have some kind of performing career. That is now gone."

Mr Grime added: "She is acutely conscious of her size and she feels it has marked her out as a freak."

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 they 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.

Miss Woodward told the judge she wanted her future treatment to be provided privately.

"I don't really want to be with the NHS any more because of what they have done to me. They have lost my trust."

She said: "My plan was to do acting and writing together, so if I could get my face on TV, it would be an extra way to get into the writing business."

The hearing, which is expected to last five days, continues.