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I am a Partner and the Team Leader of our Product Liability team. Based in Sheffield, and with colleagues in our London office, my team covers the whole of the UK as well as dealing with international claims.
I focus on claims arising from defective medical devices and group actions. Much of my work arises from metal-on-metal hip implants, including DePuy ASR, DePuy Pinnacle, Zimmer Durom and Corin Cormet implants. I also deal with group actions arising from clinical negligence claims, which at present includes claims arising from treatment provided by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Manjit Bhamra.
I helped to set up the team in 2013. Product liability has been an area of specialism for the firm for many years, but this was the first time a dedicated team had been created.
I joined Irwin Mitchell in 2007 as part of the Medical Law and Patients’ Rights team, where I specialised in representing people who had been injured by clinical negligence. I have specialised in medical law since qualification in 1998, and one of the highlights of my career was helping to represent the families of Harold Shipman’s victims at the Shipman Inquiry.
I have always had an interest in human rights and medical ethics, and I completed a Masters Degree in Health Care, Ethics & Law at the University of Manchester in 2006.
I decided early on that I was either going to be a lawyer or a doctor, on the basis that both were difficult careers to get into, so I thought they were the best jobs! I chose law as I wanted to have clients I could try to help with their problems.
The law is still evolving in the field of product liability, which makes it interesting and challenging. There is also the opportunity to help shape the development of a growing area of our practice, and helping to make people aware of their rights as consumers.
We have the resources to manage even the largest cases, but we remain focused on our clients and their individual needs. My team is relatively small but punches well above its weight, and is already established as one of the leading product liability teams in the country.
I spend as much time with my family as possible as I have two young children who are growing up fast!
The recall shows that HP is reacting responsibly to the concerns over the overheating and fire risk these batteries pose.
Manufacturers have a duty to their customers to ensure the products they release to the market are fit for purpose and safe for their intended use.
Lessons must be learned from the problems discovered with these products and it is crucial that HP can reassure consumers that they are doing everything in their power to ensure the safety standards of their products.
“I come across a lot of cases where products have actually done the opposite of what they were intended to do. You would not expect a product designed to protect a child’s skin to cause injuries such as those suffered by Olivia.
“Cases like this highlight the need for greater transparency about product recalls, as well as consistency. It’s highly concerning that this product has been recalled in other countries but not in the UK, and the reasons for this need to be investigated. Whilst Banana Boat is standing by the quality of their product, consumers need to be reassured that the product is safe especially in light of the recalls in America and Canada.”
“If a product has been recalled in other countries, there should be a better system for reviewing the safety of that product and deciding whether it should continue to be marketed in the UK. In situations like this one, we would call for products to be taken off the shelves whilst any necessary investigations are carried out, in order to put the consumer’s welfare first.”
“We welcome the decision to impose tighter regulations on medical devices and to improve the safety checks carried out by notified bodies, although it is unfortunate that it has taken this long for agreement to be reached.
“Cases such as the PIP scandal have raised some important questions about the role of notified bodies so the proposal for additional safety checks for higher risk medical devices is particularly welcome. The proposed new legislation also means manufacturers will have to provide clinical evidence of medical device safety, as they currently do for drugs.”
“The creation of an implant card and a public database, along with tighter regulations on devices will help to create transparency for patients and ultimately make procedures and devices safer.”
“The failure rates for so-called ‘large head metal- on-metal’ devices are much higher than for other types of hip implant, which can be seen from data produced by the National Joint Registry. The damage caused by the release of metal debris from the implant can cause significant injury to the soft tissues and bone around the hip, leading to the need for revision surgery at a far earlier stage than expected.
“DePuy denies that the Pinnacle metal on metal hip is defective. There is a trial planned for October 2017 at the High Court to determine whether DePuy is liable to compensate individuals who have suffered injury due to the failure of their Pinnacle implant.
“Meeting manufacturing specifications is a must for companies producing medical devices, especially those designed to be implanted within the body. People are entitled to expect the highest levels of safety for products such as hip implants.”