When you consult a doctor or general practitioner you should feel in safe hands, you do not expect accidents, errors or sub-standard care. This is unfortunately what some of us are receiving, if you have received an injury or your condition has been made worse due to medical negligence you could be entitled to claim compensation
What is Medical Negligence?
Also referred to as Clinical Negligence, this term is used to describe the duty of care expected from healthcare professionals being breached by negligent actions, such as delay in diagnosis or misdiagnosis altogether, surgical mistakes from defective products and incorrect medical treatment.
It should be borne in mind that all qualified medical practitioners are only human and mistakes do happen. The legal test is whether that mistake was so unreasonable that a reasonably competent practitioner would not have made the same mistake.
Whilst on the whole a great deal of medical treatment is provided by highly skilled, competent and dedicated professionals, mistakes do occur and those errors can have a long lasting and sometimes devastating effect on the individual concerned.
Types of Medical Negligence claims include:
Accident and Emergency:
- Failure to take appropriate action on test results or findings.
- Failure to properly investigate and diagnose.
- Wrongful discharge.
- Failure to treat.
- Failure to interpret X-rays properly.
Defective medical products:
Manufacturers of medical products are under a duty to ensure that they are fit for purpose. Claims of this nature include:
- Products that are unfit for us or pose a risk to patients.
- Products which break complicating an individual’s surgery or recovery.
Delay in Diagnosis/Late Diagnosis:
To ensure successful treatment it is essential for practitioners to get a diagnosis right – or to keep investigating issues until they are satisfied that everything has been done to help them provide the right course of treatment. The most common types of negligence in this area concerns:
- Failure to interpret test results.
- Providing an incorrect diagnosis to the patient’s detriment.
- Most commonly relates to delays in diagnosing serious conditions such as cancer or brain injuries
We accept that the NHS is often a very efficient organisation mistakes do happen when prescribing and/or administering drugs to patients. This can be due to prescriptions being misread or illegible handwriting. Whilst the doctor is responsible for deciding what drugs to prescribe – the dispensing pharmacist has two duties:
- Professionals have a duty to dispense the correct medication and provide patients with suitable information.
- Ensuring that any dispensed medication is not harmful to the patient.
Inquests following Clinical Negligence
An Inquest is a legal investigation into the circumstances surrounding an individual’s death and will be required if:
- The cause of death is unknown
- The death was sudden and unexplained
- The death occurred during an operation or whist the person was under anaesthetic.
Most surgical procedures are carried out correctly and health professionals have a legal common law duty of care to their patients. The most common issues we see are:
- Performance of the wrong operation.
- Damage to nerves, veins or arteries.
- Damage to surrounding organs (or failure to notice damage)
- Administrating the wrong anaesthetic
- Leaving instruments, swabs or other items inside a person’s body
How to make a Medical Negligence claim:
If those in the medical profession, including doctors, nurses and surgeons breach their duty of care to the patient than that individual may be entitled to compensation. If you have suffered from a form of medical negligence and want to make a claim, please get in touch with one of our expert lawyers who have a wealth of expertise in this area.