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Dr Rawle R. Hannibal loses court appeal against BVIHSA

- ECSC orders him to pay two-thirds of appeal’s cost
Political figure and businessman Dr Rawle R. Hannibal, right, suffered another loss in his civil suit against the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) for medical negligence. Photo: VINO/BVIHSA
Dr Rawle R. Hannibal had claimed that when he suffered a stroke in 2012, it was as a result of negligence by medical staff at the Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital (formerly Peebles Hospital) located in Road Town, Tortola. Photo: VINO/File
Dr Rawle R. Hannibal had claimed that when he suffered a stroke in 2012, it was as a result of negligence by medical staff at the Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital (formerly Peebles Hospital) located in Road Town, Tortola. Photo: VINO/File
When the matter arose before the Justices of Appeal in December 2019; the learned judges upheld the earlier judgement by High Court judge Vicki Ann Ellis. Photo: VINO/File
When the matter arose before the Justices of Appeal in December 2019; the learned judges upheld the earlier judgement by High Court judge Vicki Ann Ellis. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Political figure and businessman Dr Rawle R. Hannibal recently suffered another loss in his civil suit against the BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) at the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) for medical negligence.

Dr Hannibal, who unsuccessfully contested for an At Large Representative seat as an Independent candidate at the 2015 General Elections, lost at the High Court three years ago and decided to appeal the matter, claiming that when he suffered a stroke in 2012, it was as a result of negligence by medical staff at the Dr D. Orlando Smith Hospital (formerly Peebles Hospital) located in Road Town, Tortola.

When the matter arose before the Justices of Appeal; Hons Davidson Kelvin Baptiste, Gertel Thom and Paul Webster, the judgement by Justice Vicki Ann Ellis was upheld.

Judgement was delivered on December 12, 2019.

The ground for the appeal was whether the judge applied correct law on causation, whether the judge erred in finding that the appellant failed to prove causation, whether the judge erred in resolution of conflicting expert evidence, whether the judge wrongly concluded on effect of failure to disclose relevantly and whether the judge erred in awarding costs to the successful party on the claim.

A stroke was imminent- Court ruling

“Dr Hannibal’s main claim was that had the Hospital’s employees taken reasonable care in administering urgent and active treatment with respect to the Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), he probably would not have suffered a stroke within 24 hours of his admission. The BVIHSA denied the alleged negligence and contended that even if there had been a breach of duty, Dr Hannibal’s medical history (hypertensive and diabetic) was such that the breach would not have made any difference to his condition and that he would still have suffered the stroke,” the judgement on the ECSC website stated.

“At trial, Dr Hannibal and the Health Authority relied on the expert evidence of two medical practitioners to prove and resist the claim that the Hospitals’ treatment was the cause of his stroke. Both experts were rigorously cross-examined at trial.”

The judgement stated that Dr Hannibal presented himself to the hospital for treatment at around 3:30 am after feeling weak on the left side of his body and an unusual sensation in his head.

At 4:15 am he was diagnosed as suffering from a Transient Ischemic Attack (“TIA”) and at 5:30 pm after examination by the internist specialist he was diagnosed with a probable TIA secondary to uncontrolled hypertension. The following day it was determined that he had suffered a stroke and was immediately transported by air ambulance to the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida.

Appeal dismissed

Justice of Appeal Hon Davidson Kelvin Baptiste concluded that “I would dismiss the appeal and affirm the costs order that Dr Hannibal pay prescribed costs to the BVI Health Services Authority. I would order that Dr Hannibal pay two-thirds of those costs on appeal.”

Mr Keith Scotland represented Dr Hannibal while Mr Terrance B. Neale was the attorney for the BVIHSA.

13 Responses to “Dr Rawle R. Hannibal loses court appeal against BVIHSA”

  • Martin Luther King (20/01/2020, 08:50) Like (5) Dislike (13) Reply
    Injustice never end.
    • Think it through (20/01/2020, 23:40) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      He got to the Hospital with signs of having a stroke. They may have saved his life. If he had stayed home he might not have made it.
  • Comment (20/01/2020, 09:26) Like (6) Dislike (3) Reply

    Take it to the UK courts...Caribbean justice is too ..............

  • Hummmmm (20/01/2020, 09:27) Like (1) Dislike (5) Reply
    No way you can beat the government on this island
  • Fran (20/01/2020, 10:28) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    He was already showing signs of having the stroke when he entered the hospital. That is why he went there. The next day they determined he had a stroke. The medical attention he received probably could not have stopped the stroke. Lets see what the professionals have to say when this is all over. This was in 2012, a long time fighting in court.
  • Asking for the Public.. (20/01/2020, 10:37) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    Does the hospital have Drs qualified to handle and treat persons who come in with preliminary symptoms of a stroke?
  • SMH (20/01/2020, 10:41) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply

    Please. The doctor or hospital cannot prevent anyone from having a stroke when upon admission he is already suffering from the symptoms. You wait to late for intervention buddy. Sad, because you actually worked at the hospital and should not have allowed your health to deteriorate to that degree.

  • musa (20/01/2020, 12:10) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    sad news
  • hah (20/01/2020, 13:37) Like (6) Dislike (2) Reply
    This make no sense for a law suit. If you have existing conditions that are known cause of a heart Problems, strokes etc why would you sue the hospital if you get a stroke. Now if you had no pre existing conditions and end up having a stroke maybe you could try to pin that on them.
  • SMH (20/01/2020, 14:25) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    It does matter and he could have won his case. Peebles Hospital is not equipped for Stroke Victims. You can't have a General physician or Surgeon attending to a stroke victim without the input of a Neurologist, occupational therapist and physical therapist. Hooking a patient up to an IVP is not the solution. Asking for the patient's present medical ailments and medications is only beneficial if they the Medical Staff is going to ensure that the patient is receiving their medications. There is a lot that could have helped this case, but he failed to acknowledge all the little things that adds up to Medical Negligence.
  • That (20/01/2020, 15:03) Like (1) Dislike (3) Reply
    Buffalo face looking judge got to go.
  • max (20/01/2020, 15:07) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    I admit it was a good try. But it’s very difficult in these type of circumstance to be successful. It would be setting a bad precedence had he won the appeal. Everyone suffered enough a stroke under similar circumstances would have claimed medical negligence opening to a flood gate of claims.
  • the rock (21/01/2020, 07:03) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I know one thing if you feel your pressure is high dont go to the ER, they domt think thats an emmergency, they will give you hell to check you, FACTS!


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