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Reading between the lines (always dangerous), I suspect the claim was defended on the assumption that the Claimant would find it difficult to prove what was said and other factual issues and they thought they had a good Bolam argument on the argument that the Claimant should have been fast tracked for near immediate triage given his presenting condition. Equally, I suspect the Claimant's saw the "priority triage" argument as their main case, for the same reason about proving factual issues.
However, the trial judge accepted all the evidence from the Claimant, including the description of inappropriate/downright false information given by the receptionist. The judgment also supported the claim in other respects, i.e. that if given correct information, the Claimant would have been likely to stay, that it was reasonably foreseeable people given incorrect information would leave, etc...
At that stage of the judgment, denial of the claim on the basis that a non-medical receptionist (in an A&E unit...) can't be expected to give information about the triage process was a bit odd. Especially as this was not merely an absence of information, but provision of misleading information. I suspect the Defendant may have been surprised to have won in that particular way.
The Court of Appeal, and Jackson LJ in particular, then doubling down on that and treating it as a pure duty of care issue and bringing out a floodgates argument was just... worrying.
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