Our People

Deborah Powlesland

Senior Associate – Technical

Deborah Powlesland

I work on a wide range of clinical negligence cases including claims against NHS and private hospitals, GPs, pharmacists and opticians. These include delayed diagnosis and referral, inappropriate treatment and surgical errors in many areas of medicine including orthopaedics, cardiology, emergency medicine and cancer. I have a particular interest in gynaecology and other areas of women’s health. I also represent bereaved families in fatal negligence cases and at inquests. I work closely with a Partner on cerebral palsy and maximum severity brain injury cases.

I obtained my law degree and a Medical Law Masters whilst employed in the pharmaceutical industry, trained at Barlow Robbins and worked for several other law firms before returning to the firm in October 2013. I am also an accredited APIL Senior Litigator.

Case Studies
  • Negligent arthroscopy – Deborah recently settled a claim on behalf of a 46 year old gentleman injured during an arthroscopy on his knee. As a result, he developed a limp and was unable to kneel or squat. This prevented him working in his previous full time role. Expert evidence showed he would need knee replacement surgery several times in the future. The Defendant Hospital Trust admitted they had missed a tear in the knee during arthroscopy and carried out an inappropriate procedure. The case settled by mediation.

  • Delayed diagnosis of bowel obstruction – Deborah recently settled a case involving delayed diagnosis of a serious bowel obstruction in a young lady expecting her first child. The combination of a number of breaches of duty by the hospital concerned led to the Claimant suffering several days of excruciating pain, sepsis, and multi-organ failure. Physically, she recovered well by the traumatic events of the hospital admission left her with PTSD and depression. The matter was settled without the need to issue court proceedings.

  • Delayed diagnosis of a serious blood condition – Deborah recently settled a case involving a twelve month delay in diagnosis of a serious blood condition. The patient suffered year of unexplained fatigue at a very important stage of their career and had been at risk of a potentially fatal thrombotic event. Fortunately however they escaped any serious long term harm and are now receiving effective treatment. Breach of duty was admitted by the hospital on receipt of the letter of claim and early settlement was reached.

  • Failure to remove a vaginal pessary causing years of pain and infection – Deborah settled a case involving failure to remove a vaginal pessary, which should have been changed every 6 months, causing 8 years of symptoms, including repeated infection and abdominal pain. Compensation for pain and suffering as well as for the additional family care was paid by two defendant GPs before issue of proceedings became necessary.

  • Failure to diagnose testicular torsion – Deborah established liability against a defendant hospital trust following failure by an accident and emergency department to identify testicular torsion in a nineteen year old who then lost the testicle which had to be replaced with a prosthetic one.

  • Negligent ankle surgery – Deborah recently settled a claim against an NHS Hospital Trust involving negligent ankle surgery. The defendant failed, during a subtalar joint fusion to properly prepare the bone surfaces with the result that the joint failed to unite. The claimant suffered prolonged periods of pain and discomfort and had to undergo revision surgery with more extensive scarring to her ankle. For around 18 months, the claimant was only able to comfortably mobilise outdoors using a wheelchair and she continues to have to use a stair lift to gain access to the upstairs of her home. The claim was denied and proceedings were issued against the Hospital Trust concerned. The claim continued to be defended but was subsequently settled out of court.

  • Delay in diagnosis of Discitis – Deborah recently settled a claim against a Hospital Trust that repeatedly breached its duty of care to an 82 year old gentleman who had been admitted for routine surgery. Initial errors resulted in his re-admission to hospital with septic shock and profound renal failure. Subsequent delays in carrying out and acting upon bone and MRI scans resulted in a delay in diagnosis of discitis, requiring spinal surgery and long term hospital admission which sadly led to the claimant's death. Liability was admitted in full without the need for court proceedings.

Client comments
  • "Deborah proved to be excellent. She was very approachable. We had every confidence that under her guidance we would win our case which we did. We are so grateful to Deborah for all her tireless efforts."

  • "Deborah provided a very friendly and highly professional service throughout which made a stressful time more bearable. We appreciate her hard work and would highly recommend her to anyone."

  • "Deborah and the professionals she used were all fantastic from start to finish and the level of expertise used we are certain helped us in this case."

  • "Deborah worked tirelessly on our behalf to achieve an outcome we are delighted with. We are more than satisfied with the level of service from Deborah and Barlow Robbins and they will be our first choice if we ever need help in the future."

  • "For the first time in five years I have a sense of closure and the peace of mind that I did everything I could to see there was some form of accountability from a neglectful GP’s practice. Deborah, I cannot thank you and your colleagues enough for caring so much. You and the members of your team are personally responsible for ensuring we can create a few enjoyable memories for my mum."

  • "Deborah was very sympathetic and professional. She was always available and very focused on getting the right result."

  • "Totally satisfied with the level of service we received from Deborah. She was efficient, at all times showed great empathy to our entire family and treated my elderly mother with great care and understanding. We were continually updated with progress and we were happy with the actual outcome."

"Recommended Legal 500, Associate, Deborah Powlesland, whose strengths are ‘attention to detail and identifying the right experts’ in the fields of gynaecology and obstetrics cases.". Legal 500 2017