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Tuesday, 29 October, 2002, 17:47 GMT
Appeal over hospital glove allergy claim
Hospital glove
Many health care workers use latex gloves
A nurse who claims an allergy to hospital gloves ended her career has launched a fresh appeal for compensation in a landmark case.

Earlier this year, Alison Dugmore, 34, from Baglan near Port Talbot, lost her claim for damages against the trusts which managed the hospitals in which she worked.

Morriston hospital
Mrs Dugmore worked at Morriston hospital

On Tuesday, the Appeal Court in London heard how Ms Dugmore had suffered a severe allergic reaction while working at Swansea's Morriston Hospital in December 1997.

Ms Dugmore also suffered from scratching and irritation due to latex gloves during her time at Singleton hospital, also in Swansea, between 1989 to 1997.

In April, Judge Masterman, at Cardiff County Court, dismissed the case, saying the hospital authorities could not have been expected to know of the dangers of latex until January 1997.

At the time of Ms Dugmore's extreme allergic reaction, her sensitivity to latex had been established and she had been given vinyl gloves.

Mr Phillip Marshall, the barrister representing Ms Dugmore, said that, despite her replacement gloves, it had been enough for her to come into contact with colleagues wearing latex ones to trigger a reaction.

Mr Marshall told the judges the hospital authorities should have been aware of the dangers posed by latex gloves - which contain allergenic cornstarch - by the early 1990s and should have taken steps to protect their staff.

Reaction

He said Mrs Dugmore was already suffering reactions to latex gloves by 1994 when she worked at Swansea's Singleton hospital.

Mr Marshall told the court this was the first case to deal with the issue of whether employers ought to have been aware earlier that exposure to latex could cause potentially fatal allergic reactions.

In 2000, she tried to return to work in the out-patients department in Morriston Hospital but had to leave when her allergy symptoms returned.

In recognising the importance of the case, the three appeal judges - Lord Justice Tuckey, Lady Justice Hale and Sir Denis Henry - have said they will reserve their judgement until a later date.


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