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Liverpool Women’s Hospital v Ronayne [2015] EWCA Civ 588

By Oxbridge Law TeamUpdated 26/11/2023 03:09

Judgement for the case Liverpool Women’s Hospital v Ronayne

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Tort Law

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  • Citing Alcock v Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police, "Shock" in the context of this cause of action, involves the sudden appreciation by sight or sound of a horrifying event, which violently agitates the mind. It has yet to include psychiatric illness caused by the accumulation over a period of time of more gradual assaults on the nervous system."

  • What is necessary to establish liability is something that is of an extraordinary nature.


  • Edward Ronayne, an ambulance driver, witnessed his wife's severe medical deterioration due to negligence by the NHS Foundation Trust, which led to her needing emergency surgery and intensive care. His wife's appearance became distressing with swelling and complications.

  • Although she eventually recovered, he claimed to have suffered post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a secondary victim due to the shock of witnessing her decline. He sought damages for this psychiatric injury resulting from the negligence.


  • The court ruled in favour of Liverpool Women’s Hospital. Claiman’t PTSD was not caused by a “shocking event.”


  • This case addresses the nuanced legal aspects of secondary victim claims, particularly in the context of medical negligence.

  • It underscores the challenges in establishing such claims and discusses the criteria that need to be met for a successful claim for psychiatric injury suffered by a witness or close relative due to negligence affecting another person.

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