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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 16:43 GMT
Twin awarded negligence damages
A court has awarded 325,000 damages to a 14-year-old girl who has grieved for 11 years since her twin sister died from meningitis.

Charlotte Donovan's sister, Stevi, was three-years-old when she died after a cardiac arrest in January 1997.

London's High Court was told the death traumatised Charlotte, of Woodford Avenue, Plympton, Plymouth.

Mr Justice Bean approved the settlement of the claim for clinical negligence against Dr Steven Millard.

Obsessive compulsive

Simon Readhead QC, the Donovans' barrister, said Charlotte had cuddled her sister as she lay ill at home, witnessed her developing symptoms and visited her in intensive care.

This trauma had left her with a "whole constellation of problems", including obsessive compulsive disorder.

Dr Millard, an out-of-hours GP, admitted breach of duty but had denied this had caused Charlotte's problems.

The twins' mother, Terri, first spoke to Dr Millard by phone the evening before Stevi died, when the child became unwell, but was told she probably had a flu virus.

When Mrs Donovan rang again in the early hours, Dr Millard again advised it was flu and did not offer to visit.

Later that morning Stevi developed breathing difficulties and developed a purple rash all over her body.

'Sincere condolences'

When Mrs Donovan again phoned Dr Millard, he advised her to contact the surgery, which was now open, with the result that another GP attended and immediately called for an ambulance. Stevi died in hospital.

Dr Millard later agreed if he had visited Stevi after the second phone call, he should have referred her and, if he had, she would have survived.

But he questioned whether Charlotte would not have been in exactly the same state, even if had Stevi lived.

Mr Justice Bean approved the settlement of the claim for clinical negligence, after hearing Dr Millard's counsel, Richard Partridge, express his "sincere condolences" to the family, who were not in court.

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