Woman awarded pounds 468,000 damages for stroke after Pill

A WOMAN who suffered a stroke five weeks after she started taking the contraceptive pill was awarded pounds 468,750 agreed damages yesterday in the High Court.

Philippa Jane Brand had been 38, a heavy smoker and overweight at the time, and should never have been prescribed the Pill, said her counsel, Stephen Irwin QC.

The left-sided stroke changed the former secretary from a confident, cheerful and sometimes bossy woman into an insecure person who was dependent on others, Mr Irwin told Mr Justice Buckley in London.

Miss Brand, now 44, had suffered short-term memory loss and relied on her mother to prompt her into doing everyday tasks, although she was still able to drive.

She was incapable of looking after her financial affairs, Mr Irwin said. She had been a cordon bleu cook, but she now had to rely entirely on recipe instructions because she could not remember how to prepare and cook food.

Miss Brand, of Seavington St Michael, Somerset, was awarded the damages against Dr James Buckle, the GP who wrote the prescription for the low- dose pills in March 1993.

Before the settlement was reached, lawyers for Dr Buckle, of South Petherton, Somerset, had argued that, although he should not have prescribed oral contraceptives for Miss Brand in view of the associated risk factors, the stroke was coincidental and not caused by the Pill.

Speaking yesterday from the family home in Seavington St Michael, a relative of Miss Brand declined to comment in detail on the outcome of the case, but she said the family was "very pleased" with the day's events.