Posted on 28th October 2019 at 16:07
Medical Negligence occurs when a health care professional, through a negligent act or omission, causes injury to the patient. Another way to look at it is that a health care professional owes a duty of care to the patient and if they cause injury to the patient through any act or omission then they are in breach of that duty giving rise to Medical Negligence.
Medical Negligence is always a favourite topic in the media with cases regularly reported.
The UK spends a lower proportion of its GDP on health compared with other EU countries. There are staff shortages with unfulfilled posts and fewer beds, doctors and nurses per patient. People often quote that the NHS is in crisis.
But are things really getting worse in the NHS and health services generally or is just a misconception.
Misconception or not, medical negligence is the regrettable reality of adverse events which occur when they should not.
I have set out below the three most common areas of Medical Negligence and just one example of my own involvement in these areas, when assisting my client to get the compensation that they deserve.
1. Medical misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
Failure to detect an illness at the first opportunity can be very damaging and in some serious cases, particularly cancer cases, fatal. An early or correct diagnosis can then provide the opportunity for appropriate treatment which, in most cases, will bring about a speedy and full recovery.
My client contacted me to complain that her doctor had ignored her pleas for an investigation on countless appointments whilst suffering symptoms of chronic backache. The doctor preferred to advise medication. My client eventually opted to pay privately to see an orthopaedic consultant who arranged an x-ray on the same day which revealed a long standing significant cancerous mass which required major surgical removal. Thankfully my client had acted quickly enough to save her life, notwithstanding the traumatic consequential treatment with physical and psychological suffering that she also went through.
2. Surgical Negligence
This can occur in the operating theatre or in the clinic. Surgical procedures are not always straight forward. Mistakes can happen. Certain operations are known to have recognised risks and it is, therefore, important to take legal advice as to what constitutes negligence.
In one particular case that I was instructed upon, my client had attended hospital to remove some adhesions. In the operation the surgeon nicked the bowel by accident. Had he spotted this and dealt with it at the time, there would not have been a claim and, more importantly, no significant injury. As it was, he did not spot it and that mistake was compounded when the hospital failed to recognise that my client’s resultant symptoms could have been caused by a surgical error. When they did eventually discover this, about 3 days later, instead of within 24 hours, significant injuries had occurred which were irreversible. 10 years later my client was awarded a care package and compensation exceeding £1m.
3. Prescription Errors
They can occur when the clinician describes the wrong medication or the wrong dosage for the correct medication. In either situation the consequences can be devastating.
In a recent case of mine, it was not so much the naming of the medication or the dosage that was wrong but the ambiguous wording of the prescription itself. This was misinterpreted by the dispensing chemist to the extent that my client began taking 4 times the appropriate dosage. This resulted in him suffering multiple epileptic fits over a long period of time before an investigation into his deteriorating health detected the cause. He then had to be weened down to the correct level of medication over the course of a few months prolonging his continued suffering.
If you or anyone you know has suffered medical negligence please contact me for a no obligation chat.
All our Medical Negligence cases are conducted on a NO WIN NO FEE basis so there is no financial risk involved.
Tagged as: Medical Negligence
Share this post: