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NHS facing big payout over death of Hackney architect

Homerton University Hospital, in Homerton Row. Homerton University Hospital, in Homerton Row.

Thursday, June 12, 2014
11:42 AM

The grieving widow of a young architect who needlessly died due to a delay in getting cancer treatment has won a £590,000 NHS compensation payout.

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Sam Potts, one of the profession’s “shining young stars”, was just 33 and father to a baby daughter when he died of skin cancer in 2011.

He was survived by his daughter Sophia, now four, and a widow, Shaista Kauser, of Amhurst Road, Hackney Downs.

In a High Court claim, Ms Kauser alleged NHS medics were to blame for not ensuring he was treated sooner for his melanoma recurrence.

Her lawyers said staff at two trusts – Homerton University Hospital NHS Trust and Barts and The London NHS Trust – were negligent in failing to refer him for treatment in time.

It led to a delay in him getting vital attention and he died in June 2011, after flying to Uganda, where he grew up.

The family’s barrister, Anna Hughes, told the court the two hospital trusts took “no issue with liability or causation” and made an offer of £590,555 to settle the case, which was accepted.

The money is split into damages for Ms Kauser and Sophia for their loss of dependency on Mr Potts, with a portion set aside to help the daughter when she reaches 18.

“It had always been Mr Potts’ wish that she attend university,” Mrs Hughes told Judge Simon Brown QC.

Judge Brown said he had no hesitation in approving the settlement.

Mr Potts, who studied at the University of Brighton, co-founded the Redundant Architects Recreation Association (RARA), a low-rent workspace in Grosvenor Way, Upper Clapton, which he set up after being made redundant in 2008.

A tribute to him on the Architect’s Journal website read: “His all too short life has meant architecture has lost one of its shining young stars.

“In RARA, Potts has left architecture with something that really captures the zeitgeist of the emerging generation of young architects.

“Within a suburban industrial shed hidden down an unpromising back road is a space that allows creativity to flourish without constraint, and most importantly creates a place for a community of like-minded people to meet, watch films, drink ale and make things beautifully.

“On one of his final days in London before heading to Uganda Sam and RARA threw a great party.

“At the end the crowd cheered as he leaned out of the window of his taxi and waved back.”

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