Case studies

Passenger receives compensation for ship doctor's misdiagnosis


We acted for a client who was the victim of clinical negligence while on a cruise. Her claim was governed by the Athens Convention. The defendant cruise liner was also the supplier of a package holiday within the meaning of the Package Tours, Package Holidays and Package Travel Regulations 1992.

Our client suffered a fall on the deck of the ship and, despite several consultations, the ship doctor failed to diagnose a displaced fracture to the neck of the femur. She was given crutches and was in significant pain for the remainder of the cruise.

According to the Athens Convention, a passenger must prove that the incident which gives rise to the injury occurred during the carriage and was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier, its servants or agents acting in the course of their employment (Article 3). It was necessary for us to demonstrate that the conduct of the ship doctor, judged against that of a reasonably competent UK registered practitioner, albeit working within the confines of the limited on board medical resources, fell below the expected standard.

We obtained medical evidence from an English doctor who was of the view that the ship doctor had failed in his duty, and should have diagnosed the fracture. We sent a letter of claim to the defendant, Carnival, and subsequently agreed a negotiated sum of damages without the need to issue proceedings.


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP