A former Royal Marine, Corporal Philip Eaglesham, contracted Q Fever in October 2010 following a tour of Afghanistan, and is now in line to receive compensation estimated in the region of £6-£8 million.
The virulent illness, Q fever, also known as Helmand Fever is a bacterial infection often found in animal products, that transmits through inhalation of the same or through tick bites. The illness, which causes flu-like symptoms, can in chronic cases, damage vital organs leading onto extreme fatigue and disability.
Mr Eaglesham fell ill upon his return to the United Kingdom following a period of service in Afghanistan and was admitted to hospital in Cyprus in October 2010. He was placed under the care of RAF consultant physician, Group Captain Laundy, who at the time recognised the possibility that Mr Eaglesham was suffering from Q fever.
The Ministry of Defence ran tests and sought advice from an expert, Lieutenant Colonel Bailey, whom they had previously commissioned in 2008 to lead a study relating to identification of the conditions of Q fever and how best to protect against them and treat them.
Despite this knowledge, Mr Eaglesham claimed that the Defendant negligently failed to prescribe the recommended antibiotic, doxycycline, and as a result he suffered a very serious chronic fatigue syndrome which is a well-known consequence of Q Fever.
The case was brought before Honourable Mrs Justice Andrews in the High Court, whom was highly critical as to the conduct of the Ministry of Defence. Throughout the litigation, the Defendant had failed to comply with their obligations to disclose all pertinent information relevant to the claim, and sought a further extension to comply with their obligations and the Court Order that had been implemented.
The Honourable Justice Andrew asserted that the failures of the Defendant had “undermined the conduct of the litigation by causing the trial date to be vacated” and went on to express concern that the delays caused by the Ministry of Defence now meant “that a trial would not take place until 2018, five years after the claim form was issued and four years after the issues crystallised”.
The Honourable Justice Andrew opined that she was “unimpressed by the litany of excuses put forward for non-compliance” and that she would not grant the Ministry of Defence “further indulgence”.
In a landmark victory for Claimants, the Defence was struck out, with judgment entered on liability and compensation to be assessed.
The High Court was informed that there are numerous similar cases in the pipeline. If you should have a claim against the Ministry of Defence please do not hesitate to contact our experienced Personal Injury Department on 01633 262 848.