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By submitting an enquiry through 'get in touch' your data will only be used to contact you regarding your enquiry. If you would like to receive newsletters from Thomson Snell & Passmore please use the separate form below.

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Specialisms & expertise

Graham has practised clinical negligence since qualifying and now works principally in this area.  He also acts in complex personal injury cases including brain injury and industrial disease.

He is a member of the Law Society clinical negligence and personal injury accreditation schemes, a fellow of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and an assessor for APIL clinical negligence specialists.  He is a member of the Medico-Legal Society and the legal adviser to a local Citizens Advice centre.

His clinical negligence work has involved a wide range of medical accidents including obstetrics and gynaecology, orthopaedics, A&E, oncology, cardiology, diabetology, neurology, haematology, general surgery, neonatology and paediatrics, psychiatry, fertility medicine, microbiology, ophthalmology, genetics, pharmaceutical trials, HIV, plastic surgery, general practice and dentistry.  He has a particular interest in issues of informed consent and causation of injury.

His has acted for both adults and children who have suffered brain injury as well as children born with cerebral palsy as result of medical accident.

His advocacy work has included court hearings and representing families at inquests in coroners courts where he is experienced in the questioning of doctors and other medical staff.  He has given evidence in the High Court Hong Kong in a major brain injury case.

Profile

Graham read law at university and graduated with a first. He later obtained a master’s degree in health law and won prizes for best dissertation and best post graduate student.  He joined Thomson Snell and Passmore in 2002 and became a partner in 2006.

He is recognised in leading legal directories for both clinical negligence and personal injury work.  Comments have included 'Graham Bell is a clever, practical lawyer' (Legal 500  2009).  '…leaves no stone unturned' (2010). ‘An out and out clever lawyer with great ideas when analysing cases’ (Chambers 2016) ‘He takes very complex stuff and boils it down to the key issues in a way that’s digestible’ (Chambers 2017).

At home he enjoys architecture and history.

Notable cases

Graham recovered the largest ever award for blindness and was the first solicitor to win a cerebral palsy case funded by a conditional fee agreement.

MEC (a child acting by his mother and litigation friend NFC) v Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust [2016]

The claimant suffered severe cerebral palsy as result of the negligent mismanagement of his birth.  Liability was denied but the issue was settled shortly after service of court proceedings.  Interim payments were obtained to enable the family to move home, purchase a suitable vehicle and pay a team of carers. Damages recovered: about £7.25 million.

MX BX (by her mother and litigation friend, JX MX) v Salford Royal NHS Foundation trust [2015]

The claimant was aged 22 when she underwent routine laparoscopic surgery.  The surgeon negligently punctured her aorta leading to cardiac arrest and severe brain injury.  Graham took the case over from Fiona Follis at a late stage.  The court approved a settlement worth about £8 million.  The case was widely reported in the press.

Ian Andrew Milroy (a protected party by Sharon Milroy, his litigation friend) v British Telecommunications PLC [2015] EWHC 532 (QB)

Claimant suffered severe electrocution resulting in brain injury as a result of the negligence of a fellow employee.  Liability was denied throughout.  The High Court heard evidence from both parties expert engineers, preferred the evidence of the claimant’s expert and gave judgment for the claimant subject to reduction for contributory negligence.  Damages have yet to be determined.

P v Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust [2013]

The claimant was aged 60 when she underwent bilateral hip replacement surgery.  The hospital negligently failed to investigate her post operative pain and allowed the development of a pressure sore which eventually led to a below knee amputation of her leg.  Liability was admitted.  The case settled following the service of the claimant’s expert evidence.  Damages recovered: £800,000.

M v a general practitioner [2012]

An exceptionally unusual case where the claimant’s GP failed to adequately advise her on receipt of letters from a hospital genetics department about the risk of passing on alpha 1- antitrypsin deficiency (MZ) to future children.  She later had children who suffered this condition and one suffered liver damage leading to the need for transplant.  The defendant admitted that the claimant should have been referred for genetic counselling but robustly denied that she would have acted differently in view of the very low risk of the condition causing severe injury in children.  The case involved complex issues of genetics, causation paediatric hepatology and damages for wrongful birth.  As a matter of law only the mother was entitled to damages but not the children.  The defendant instructed a QC specialising in wrongful birth cases but eventually agreed terms of settlement during court proceedings.  Damages recovered: £75,000.  Graham pursued this case from a conviction of its merits even though a leading barrister thought it would not succeed.

L -v- M [2010]

Child claimant was involved in road traffic accident which also resulted in the death of both her parents.  She suffered a multiplicity of serious injuries including a brain injury.  Matters were complicated by the claimant's refusal to follow the advice of her clinicians and case manager and further refusal to attend medico-legal appointments.  On approval of a settlement of a lump sum and periodical payments the judge commentated that the unique circumstances of the case meant that calculating damages was exceptionally difficult.  Damages recovered: £1.6 million.

K v South of England Strategic Health Authority [2009]

At counsel's recommendation we took over this case from another firm of solicitors.  The mismanagement of the claimant’s birth in 1979 led to a very unusual pattern of injury including learning difficulties and hearing loss. Liability was denied and court proceedings were in progress.  A new team of experts were instructed.  The case settled for lump sum and periodical payments worth £2.3 million.  Graham also settled the case of the claimant's mother who suffered Sheehan’s syndrome (an endocrine injury) as a result of her mismanaged post delivery uterine haemorrhage leading to huge blood loss. The mother’s case was over 20 years limitation barred.

CD v East Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust [2009]

Child claimant who had congenital disabilities requiring a ventriculo-peritoneal shunt suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of a blocked shunt.  On at least two occasions the defendant's hospital negligently failed to refer to specialist neurosurgical centre for treatment when symptoms indicated that there could be a problem with the shunt.  Although liability was denied throughout the case settled about two weeks before trial.  Damages recovered: in excess of £4 million.

L v Medway NHS Foundation Trust [2009]

Patient admitted for gynaecological surgery.  The surgeon negligently failed to repair partial lesion of large bowel which later perforated leading to admission to intensive care, emergency laparotomy (also negligently performed) and colostomy. Patient underwent numerous further tests and procedures over the following years and suffered gross abdominal disfigurement and a severe depressive reaction. Liability was denied until a few weeks before a liability trial and the case subsequently settled.  Damages recovered: £225,000.

GB v South East London Strategic Health Authority [2009]

The claimant was catastrophically damaged as a result of being given an overdose of chloramphenicol to treat suspected neonatal meningitis.  A number of vital medical records had been lost and the legal officer of the health authority swore an affidavit confirming that despite extensive searches the records could not be found. Graham was able to locate the records after nearly 30 years. The case settled for damages of over £3 million, including periodical payments to fund the claimant's future care.

L v S [2007]

Patient suffered severe injury as a result of a rare tendon failure complication at total knee replacement surgery.  There was a dispute with the privately paid surgeon as to the pre-operative warnings he gave and we were instructed after expiry of the three year limitation deadline.  The case had a number of features similar to those in Chester v Afshar.  The case settled with the defendant insisting on a confidentiality clause in the final order.  Damages recovered: £350,000.

Whiting v Medway NHS Trust (2007)

Serious injury to liver following damage to common bile duct at laparoscopic cholecystectomy.  Damages of £290,000 were amongst the largest awarded for this injury and included a substantial payment in respect of the potential cost of future transplant surgery.

AB (by her litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) v South East Coast Strategic Health Authority [2007]

Negligent neo-natal oxygen management led to retinopathy of prematurity and blindness. An unusual feature of the case was the extent to which the claimant’s obesity was caused by her sedentary lifestyle (resulting from blindness) or an unrelated endocrine disorder.  The court approved a settlement of £2.25 million which was the largest sum ever awarded for this type of injury.

Howard v Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust [2006]

The High Court approved a £2.5 million settlement of this contested cerebral palsy case where the claimant alleged that the medical records had been retrospectively, and fraudulently, altered to disguise mismanagement of the birth.  An exceptionally unusual feature of the case was that the claimant obtained the permission of the court to rely on the evidence of an expert document examiner to report on the altered records.
 

   

Knowledgeable and well respected. Interested in us as people.

Client

Very nice people. Really made the case a lot easier to understand; they were always there to help.

Client

[The firm’s] reputation for quality, thoroughness, and being specialists in clinical negligence.

Client

Graham Bell's practice focuses on serious injury. He is described as an "out-and-out clever lawyer with great ideas when analysing cases."      

Chambers UK 2016

The superb knowledge of our solicitor, excellent knowledge of field experts, prompt and efficient service. You did everything well. Solid knowledge, canny tactics, superb contacts (barristers and professional experts).

Client

"Communication was excellent throughout and even though my solicitor changed mid way through the claim, there was no cause for concern and everything was handed over to her in full . You are an outstanding company who only have your clients best interest at heart and this is a service not many can provide. I had every confidence in you at all times."

Client

Clear and detailed information was always available and they responded quickly and clearly to any questions we had.

Client

Graham Bell handles an array of clinical negligence matters, including cerebral palsy, catastrophic brain injury and surgical negligence cases. Sources describe him as a "really accomplished litigator who is tactically extremely astute and doesn't forget the end goal."

Chambers UK 2018

Related Team Members

Fiona Follis
Gavin Allard
James Cahan
Jennifer Waight
Jessica Royle
Jonathan Herbert
Oliver Chapman
Sandra Hennessy
Sharon Lam
Rebecca Morgan
George Liley
Josie Hill
Carley Ross
Sandra Paige
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Jargon Buster