TV producer takes action against doctors

A Norwich-based producer of hard-hitting TV programmes has launched a legal battle for more than £300,000 compensation, claiming doctors misdiagnosed her ruptured appendix.

A Norwich-based producer of hard-hitting TV programmes has launched a legal battle for more than £300,000 compensation, claiming doctors misdiagnosed her ruptured appendix.

Vivica Parsons, 52, who runs Imago Productions, claims her doctors told her to take painkillers when she phoned to seek advice for severe stomach pains.

After tests, one doctor told her she had gastroenteritis when in fact she had suffered a ruptured appendix needing immediate surgery, according to a High Court writ.

Mrs Parsons, whose company has produced New Boy and Grudge Match for Channel 4 and Mistresses for ITV, underwent urgent major surgery on July 15, 2004, and has made a slow recovery.

If she had been referred to hospital earlier, she would have spent only two or three days in hospital recovering from routine surgery, the writ says.

But she needed major surgery, which has left her with grossly disfiguring scarring on her abdomen, and continuing pain and diarrhoea.

Most Read

She has lost much of her vitality, and did not go back to full-time work until February 2005, the writ says.

She is the owner, chief executive and creative director of Imago and her absence from the company had a devastating effect on its output and finances, the court will hear.

Mrs Parsons, of Christchurch Road, Norwich, says until her illness, she had the chance of selling her company for a large amount of money, but has lost this chance and income.

She is claiming damages from Dr S Bowry and Dr M Lawrence, of the Bacon Road Medical Centre, off Colman Road, Norwich, where she was a patient.

She initially telephoned the on-call medical service on the evening of June 30, 2004, and was given no advice but was told by a doctor that she would know if she had appendicitis because she would not be able to stand the pain.

Her condition deteriorated, and Dr Bowry visited her home two days later, when she told Mrs Parsons it was likely she had food poisoning or a virus.

The doctor took a pregnancy test, which was negative, and other samples, which were also negative, but did not take her pulse or blood pressure, and did not record her temperature, the court will hear.

Dr Bowry finally told Mrs Parsons she was definitely suffering from gastroenteritis which would pass, it is alleged.

Mrs Parsons phoned again on July 5, saying she was in severe pain, but claims that Dr Lawrence's treatment of her was dismissive and patronising, and he recommended stronger painkillers.

The next day she phoned the surgery, saying she was now so ill she felt desperate and Dr Bowry phoned her later, but did not offer another visit, diagnosis, or treatment, the writ says.

The two doctors have admitted that Dr Bowry's failure to arrange her admission to hospital that day was negligent, the writ claims.

Eventually, more than a week later, Mrs Parsons was admitted to hospital for surgery, where her appendix was found to be ruptured and necrotic, with an abscess.

She underwent an operation called a hemicolectomy, in which patients usually face the loss of half of their intestines.

The Bacon Road Medical Centre declined to comment while the legal proceedings were on-going.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter