75 y.o.man,misdiagnosed as having fatal heart disease at age 6,now seeking monetary compensation from British gov.

Posted this to ATC, and decided to also post it here at WH, because I find
this case to be quite thought-provoking. Imagine being told as a child of 6 or
7 or 8, that you had a fatal disease that would kill you before you even reach
your teens, and to have to live with this FATAL DIAGNOSIS for your entire life,
before finally learning that you had been totally mis-diagnosed, at age 58.
Pretty intense mental strain and trauma, IMO, both as a child, teen, and young
adult, AND at age 58, to finally learn the truth. Anyway, here’s the post I
made to ATC:

Here’s an interesting and thought-provoking case out of England. There’s a 75
year old man named Noel Smith, and he is demanding monetary compensation from
the British government. He is seeking this compensation based upon the premise
that society caused him to “waste his life”.

You see, when Noel was 6 years old, his mother took him to a doctor, who
diagnosed Noel as suffering from a FATAL heart defect known as rheumatic
valvular disease. His mother then took him to other doctors, all of whom
concurred with the original diagnoses, and told Noel’s mother that 6 year old
Noel WAS slowely dying, and would not live beyond age 12!

Noel’s mother, RIGHTLY, I think, TOLD Noel the truth. She told him that he
was very sick and would not live to adulthood. As a result of being told this,
Noal abandoned his dream of becoming an opera singer, he obviously was greatly
troubled and unhappy, throughout his childhood, as a result of this diagnosis
that he had a fatal heart disease and would die before reaching adulthood.

He also suffered in other ways, he was refused admission into the army, as a
result of his medical history. Personally, I would view that as a BENEFIT, but
I am not Noel. Noel’s entire life, especially his childhood and teen years,
utterly DESTROYED by the INCORRECT medical diagnosis that he was given, and
now, at age 75, Noel is JUSTIFIABLY seeking compensation, citing his “wasted

Yup, Noel has lived for 75 years, outliving all of his siblings, 3 brothers
and 2 sisters! The doctors who diagnosed and treated him as a child and teen
are all dead by now, so he cannot sue them, so he is looking to hire a lawyer,
and sue the British government. Declares Noel: “I am just asking for what I
feel I am entitled to. They took my life away and they should give me enough
money to ensure my wife and family are all right when I am gone.” Makes sense
to me.

It was not until 1981, at the age of 58, that Noel found out that he indeed
had been totally misdiagnosed as a child, and he never had any fatal or even
life-threatening heart problem. Ever since learning this fact, in 1981, Noel’s
entire demeanor has changed. He has become angry and bitter, as his wife tells
us. And JUSTIFIABLY so. Remember, he was TOLD that he would DIE by age 12. Noel
must have considered every year of life beyond age 12 as a LUCKY BREAK, a
blessing, maybe even a miracle. Then, at age 58, he finally finds out that he
NEVER had the disease that he was diagnosed with. Thus, all those years in
which he was “grateful” just to be alive, were LIES. Noel’s entire life up
until age 58 was based upon a FALSE premise, and so in an INSTANT, the years of
fear, followed by gratitude as he reached adulthood and continued to live, were
ERASED, and replaced by bitterness and anger over the PROFOUND INJUSTICE of
having had to ENDURE all those years of fear and worry over NOTHING!

Pretty interesting case, IMO. You just never know what weird curveballs life
will throw at you. I wonder whether Noel was HAPPY to learn, at age 58, that he
did not have this fatal heart disease? I mean, he was naturally angry and
bitter, but as the years passed, and he entered his 60’s and 70’s, did he come
to appreciate the knowledge that he acquirred at age 58? Certainly he would
have wanted to learn the truth at age 12, or 18, or even 30. At age 58, was it
too late for him to grateful to learn this shocking truth? Well, his wife, who
is only 52 years old, is certainly happy, in some ways, to know the truth. She
might well be happier that Noel, because she didn’t have to live through a
childhood and adolescence and young adulthood in which every day, Noel had to
face up to the IDEA that he was living on “borrowed time”.