The lawyer sued a doctor.

(This novel is based on real events)

The Encounter

Dr Alice Harper had just finished her gruelling F2 year and embarked on her first shift in the bustling emergency department of St. Margaret’s Hospital. The air was thick with the familiar scents of antiseptic and anxiety, mingling with the hum of activity. It was here, amidst the chaos, that Alice encountered Mr. Edward Sterling, a barrister of some repute, who had presented with an unexplained swelling in his right arm.

Alice, with her usual diligence, undertook a series of investigations. The Doppler ultrasound and subsequent CT scan revealed nothing conclusive. There were no clots, no fractures, nothing to account for the swelling causing Mr. Sterling so much discomfort. After a thorough discussion with her consultant, Dr James Whittaker, they decided to discharge Mr Sterling with advice to return if his symptoms worsened.

“Thank you, Doctor,” Edward said with a strained smile as Alice handed him the discharge papers. “I trust your judgment.”

Alice nodded, watching the tall, distinguished man walk out of the emergency department, hoping his condition would improve. Little did she know this encounter would haunt her most unexpectedly.

The Revelation

Several weeks passed before Alice heard the name Edward Sterling again. She was in the middle of a shift when she received a call from the hospital’s legal team. Mr. Sterling had been diagnosed with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) a few days after his discharge and had filed a lawsuit against the hospital, claiming clinical negligence. The news hit Alice like a sledgehammer.

“Dr. Harper, we need you to provide a statement regarding your assessment and the decision to discharge Mr. Sterling,” the voice on the other end of the line said.

Alice’s heart raced. This was uncharted territory for her. She had never been involved in a legal case, let alone one involving potential negligence. The thought of being scrutinized for her medical judgment was terrifying.

The Statement

The following days were a blur of anxiety and sleepless nights. Alice meticulously reviewed her notes from that fateful day, trying to recall every detail of her interactions with Mr. Sterling and Dr. Whittaker. She spent hours drafting her statement, ensuring it was as clear and accurate as possible.

Before submitting her statement, Alice sought advice from her medical defence organisation (MDO). The reassurance from her MDO representative was a lifeline in the storm of her worry.

“Dr. Harper, you are not being sued personally. The hospital is the defendant in this case. Your role is to provide a factual account of your involvement,” the representative explained patiently.

With their guidance, Alice refined her statement, emphasizing her steps, the investigations she had conducted, and the consultations with Dr. Whittaker. She described the decision-making process that led to Mr Sterling’s discharge, highlighting that all actions taken were in accordance with medical protocols and the information available at the time.

The Waiting Game

Once her statement was submitted, Alice faced the agonizing wait for the legal proceedings to unfold. She threw herself into her work, finding solace in the routine of patient care and the camaraderie of her colleagues. Yet, the spectre of the lawsuit loomed over her, casting a shadow on her every move.

Months passed without any significant updates. Alice continued to work, trying to push the impending legal case to the back of her mind. She found herself double-checking her decisions and second-guessing her judgments more often, a lingering effect of the lawsuit’s stress.

The Resolution

One crisp autumn morning, Alice received a call from the hospital’s legal team. The case had been settled out of court. Mr. Sterling had agreed to a settlement, and the matter was closed. Relief washed over Alice, followed by a wave of exhaustion. The ordeal was finally over.

Her MDO representative’s words echoed in her mind, reinforcing the importance of the support and guidance she had received. The experience, while harrowing, had also been a profound learning opportunity. Alice realized the value of meticulous documentation, the importance of seeking second opinions, and the necessity of having a support system during challenging times.


As the years passed, Alice’s career flourished. She became a respected consultant known for her meticulous attention to detail and compassionate patient care approach. The experience with Mr. Sterling remained pivotal in her career, shaping her into the doctor she had become.

One evening, while teaching a group of medical students, Alice recounted the story of Mr. Sterling. She spoke of the importance of thorough investigations, clear communication, and the need for support during difficult times. The students listened intently, absorbing the lessons from her experience.

“The most important thing,” Alice concluded, “is to remember that we are human. We do our best with the knowledge and resources we have. And when things go wrong, we must learn, grow, and move forward.”


Dr. Alice Harper’s journey was marked by challenges and growth. The lawsuit that had once filled her with dread became a cornerstone of her professional development. She emerged stronger, wiser, and more resilient, ready to face whatever challenges lay ahead in her medical career.

As for Mr Edward Sterling, he resumed his career as a barrister, albeit with a deeper appreciation for the complexities and uncertainties of the medical profession. The settlement allowed him to adapt to his new circumstances, and he continued advocating for justice in the courtroom and beyond.

Life moved forward, with lessons learned and experiences gained, shaping the futures of those involved in ways they could never have anticipated.

Read more medico-legal stories: Delayed diagnosis leads to a doctor losing in Court.