Case study: Mr & Mrs E

“It made a massive difference. The team worked really well together, and the connection was seamless. All the pieces fitted together.”

Mr and Mrs E had an adult daughter who had a number of preexisting health conditions.  In 2019 she had emergency surgery and was recovering from that when she sadly passed away. 

The post-mortem recorded an excess of painkillers in her blood and resulting organ failure.  Mr and Mrs E felt from the pre inquest that the outcome was set to record that an overdose was the cause and that this may have been deliberate, due to the options open to the coroner and the attitude of the Hospital Trust

Mr and Mrs E were not happy with this as they were sure their daughter had not taken an overdose and had given no indications or thoughts of taking her own life as she had plans to go shopping with her friend on the morning of her passing. Mr & Mrs E carried out their own research into the medication their daughter was prescribed and, were extremely concerned about the very high dosage of painkillers she had been prescribed along with other medications.

With the help of Bristol Law Clinic, they set about reviewing the evidence and it soon became apparent that this was a complex case.  After a successful application to Advocate the case was taken on by Ryan Ross at Farrar’s Building who set to work preparing the case for the inquest.

Given the complex medical history, a detailed statement was required from Mrs E.  Counsel applied for solicitor assistance through Pro Bono Connect and the case was taken on by a team at Dechert consisting of Caroline Black and Craig Watson.

The team worked tirelessly with Mr and Mrs E to put together a detailed statement outlining their daughter’s life and situation.  The whole team attended the hearing in August 2021 where the statement was presented along with evidence about the dosage of medication provided.

A number of issues were raised, and the coroner recorded a narrative verdict which was one that all parties agreed, removing the presentation of a ‘prescribed’ outcome. Further, the medical professionals involved pledged to review their prescribing procedures to prevent future issues for other patients.

Mr and Mrs E felt that without the support of their legal team they may not have achieved this outcome and that their daughter would not have been able to leave a legacy for the future: ensuring others in a similar situation as regards to medication are monitored more closely.

Mr and Mrs E said:

“the whole team were brilliant.  Ryan was amazing, so patient, understanding and supportive.  He made us feel safe and did our daughter justice.   Craig and Caroline guided us through the case carefully and made sure our daughter was at the centre at all times.”  Of Pro Bono Connect they said “It made a massive difference.  The team worked really well together, and the connection was seamless.  All the pieces fitted together.”

Caroline Black and Craig Watson of Dechert said:

“We are grateful that Mr and Mrs E trusted us with their case, and we are glad to have helped them in some small way through this difficult time to achieve an outcome that hopefully allows them to remember their daughter as they would have wished. We would also like to thank Mr Ross for his invaluable insight and advocacy skills which contributed enormously to the positive outcome achieved.”

Ryan Ross of Farrar’s Building said

“It is with deep regret that those in the position of Mr and Mrs E often must represent themselves in what can be profoundly sad and emotive proceedings. I am grateful to Mr and Mrs E for trusting me to assist with their case, and I remain indebted to Caroline Black and Craig Watson at Dechert for their industry and support. It would not have been possible to build the legal team that we did – nor to make a difference in the lives of Mr and Mrs E – without the opportunities created by Pro Bono Connect.”

Pro Bono Connect is the only scheme that enables solicitors and barristers to be matched to work on cases together pro bono.  This collaboration between lawyers ensures that the client gets the best possible service.

June 2022