A HAMPSHIRE barrister’s wife who claimed she suffered serious brain damage after drinking too much water has lost a £1.6 million damages claim.
Sally Lillington, of Linwood, near Ringwood, said her devastating brain injury was caused by a condition commonly associated with marathon runners, who often over-hydrate during training.
The High Court heard that the 63-year-old succumbed to hyponatraemia after developing a suspected urinary tract infection in September 2009.
She suffered repeated bouts of vomiting and drank large amounts of water to replenish her fluids.
But that triggered a dangerous decline in sodium levels in her blood, leading to sickness, seizures and swelling to her brain, the court was told.
Mrs Lillington, of Linwood, near Ringwood, lives in a cottage formerly owned by award-winning naturalist and filmmaker Eric Ashby, who died in 2003.
She sued two GPs who treated her during her illness, claiming their negligence had caused her injury.
Ringwood-based Dr Gregory Ansell and Dr Simon Jennison were accused of failing to recognise the potential severity of her condition.
Hyponatraemia was finally diagnosed and treated at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital following her emergency admission in October 2009, the court heard.
Her QC, Martin Spencer, said the GPs should have sent her to hospital immediately the severity of her condition became clear.
He told the court that her ensuing brain damage resulted in ME-like symptoms including lethargy, low mood and problems concentrating.
“Her husband describes the woman who came home from hospital as not being the same woman who went in,” added Mr Spencer.
But the doctors denied negligence, saying their handling of Mrs Lillington’s case was “reasonable”. They also denied that she had sustained any permanent brain injury.
Dismissing her damages claim, the judge, Mr Justice Hickinbottom, said Mrs Lillington had been given “appropriate advice”.
He added: “I conclude - firmly - that neither Dr Ansell nor Dr Jennison breached his duty of care towards Mrs Lillington.
Had they been negligent, he said, she would still have lost her case because she had failed to prove that her condition caused organic brain damage.
Her husband is barrister Simon Lillington (pictured), 61, who is based at College Chambers in Carlton Crescent, Southampton.
In October last year he and his colleagues paid tribute to fellow lawyer Stephen Cotton, 52, who was found hanged at his home in Sutton Scotney after family and financial troubles.
Last night the two GPs were unavailable for comment.