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Lawyer left infertile by botched NHS surgery told that infertility helped her career

Sarah Marquis, who was left infertile after a hospital failed to spot her burst appendix, has been told she is due less compensation as having children may have stalled her career as a lawyer.

NHS negligence

The 41-year-old was admitted to Homerton Hospital in 2008 after visiting her GP for abdominal pains.

She was treated with painkillers, but no emergency action was taken for three days until surgeons eventually realised that she needed to have her appendix removed.

By that time, the organ had become perforated and gangrenous, which caused a serious abdominal infection, ending any hopes Ms Marquis had of naturally conceiving a child with her partner.

Cara Guthrie, acting for Ms Marquis, said:

“Had it not been for the negligence of the defendants, Ms Marquis’
appendix would not have perforated.”

In addition to rendering her infertile, Ms Marquis told the High Court that she required three and a half years off work due to sustained medical issues, ruining her chances to fulfill her career potential.

Reduced compensation

Ms Marquis, who was earning £85,000 with the City law firm DLA Piper at the time, is suing the NHS for £1.5 million.

However, though since admitting liability for her injuries and apologising, lawyers acting for Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust have insisted that she should receive less compensation because had she remained fertile, her career would have been negatively affected by having children.

Bradley Martin, for the trust, told the High Court that her burning desire for a family would have overridden her desire to advance her career.

He added that looking after children would have stunted her career trajectory.

Ms Marquis has since begun IVF treatment, though this has been unsuccessful thus far.

Both parties are still awaiting judgement.

If you have been affected by medical negligence, and you would like expert advice, contact the Hampson Hughes Solicitors Medical Negligence Team today on 0151 242 1025 or email

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