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Smoking Thursday, 13 May, 1999, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Smoker drops discrimination claim
mike sale
Mike Sale is claiming the hospital was negligent
A heart patient who is suing a hospital over alleged negligence has admitted there is no firm evidence he was discriminated against because he smoked.

Mike Sale said he overheard a doctor questioning the value of treating smokers and thought this was the reason he was not treated.

But his solicitor told a court on Thursday that there was no firm evidence that Mr Sale's habit affected the hospital's actions.

Instead, he is bringing a case of "common negligence" against the Royal Hull Hospitals NHS Trust.

History of complaints

Stephen Glover, representing Mr Sale, said his client had experienced heart problems and had a long family history of heart complaints.

For this reason, Hull Royal Infirmary had acted negligently by failing to treat the 50-year-old, he said.

Mr Sale, a former nurse and a 20-a-day smoker, originally claimed discrimination after he suffered a heart attack in 1992.

Following a series of hospital admissions, a tobacco firm came forward in 1994 to pay for private treatment.

Mr Sale underwent a complex quadruple heart by-pass operation in March 1994 after Harley Street specialists told him that his life was in danger if he was not treated immediately.

'No evidence of discrimination'

But Mr Glover told Pontefract County Court that although his client had become a cause celebre among tobacco lobbyists, there was in fact no hard proof that the hospital discriminated.

"It is simply a case of common negligence against the Royal Hull Hospitals Trust," he said.

The hospital denies the allegation.

Mr Sale told the court he felt doctors and nurses at the hospital ignored his pleas for help and persistently made reference to the fact that he continued to smoke after his heart attack.

"They said I seemed to be putting it on. I kept asking questions and kept getting fobbed off," he said.

Another case of negligence, against Scunthorpe and Goole Hospitals NHS Trust - which was also involved with Mr Sale - was dropped after lengthy legal argument.

The hearing was adjourned until Friday, when it is expected to conclude.

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The BBC's John Thorne: "Mr Sale is claiming negligence"
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13 May 99 | Smoking
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