We put a lot of trust in health care professionals to ensure that the medical care and treatment we receive is the best it can be, whatever illness or health issue we suffer.
Sadly this isn’t always the case and when issues occur due to misdiagnosis, delayed treatment or surgical errors the results can be devastating and have an impact not only on those directly affected, but their family too. Financial stress as a result of ongoing personal and medical issues associated with clinical negligence claims can also add to the suffering.
Last year the NHS paid out £1.2bn in settlements for clinical negligence claims across a range of claim areas including Maternity, Surgical and A&E claims - which accounted for the highest proportion of claims in 2013 - 2014.
Clinical (or Medical) negligence is a legal term used for claims where actions by health professionals have had a negative impact on health and well-being, rather than improving it. The majority of people have positive experiences either with medical professionals or in hospital but if that isn’t the case, how do you know if you are a victim of clinical negligence?
Here are 5 of the most common signs:
Misdiagnosis or Delay in Diagnosis
Failure to receive medical treatment due to an incorrect diagnosis or a delay in diagnosis can lead to serious health problems and mean the difference between life and death in some cases. Misdiagnosis could mean unnecessary procedures or lack of appropriate treatment while delayed diagnosis can be just as damaging as failure to diagnose - particularly with illnesses such as cancer, where time is of the essence.
Slow or Delayed Treatment
The speed at which treatment is carried out and swift referral times can mean the difference between a speedy recovery and additional pain and suffering. Failure or delay to refer by a GP or Doctor, particularly where specialist treatment may be required, can have major consequences and may lead to further complications.
Poor level of Treatment or Care
Everyone is entitled to an acceptable standard of healthcare. Dentists, Doctors and other healthcare professionals strive to provide the best possible treatment, but unfortunately not everyone has a good experience. When standards fall below those expected due to negligence in hospital or by medical staff, the effects can be devastating for those involved.
An Error During Surgery
For most, surgical procedures are there to fix a medical problem and improve quality of life. However, if surgery has lead to further pain, illness or suffering then patients have a right to claim. All surgery involves risks, however these risks should be fully outlined and explained from the outset. If something goes wrong during a procedure at the hands of a surgeon the effects can include pain and discomfort, impaired mobility and in extreme cases, death.
Unnecessary Procedure or Treatment
We put trust in Doctors that whatever treatment or procedure they recommend to help diagnose or treat a condition is in our best interests. If a Doctor lacks the skills or knowledge in a certain area, it could lead to unnecessary treatments or procedures that can worsen or even cause complications. Prescription drugs carry potential side effects too, so drugs that are prescribed unnecessarily also carry risks for patients.
If you feel you may have suffered from clinical negligence for any of the reasons above, in the first instance you should contact a specialist medical negligence solicitor to go through the details and establish whether you have a claim. The claims process can be lengthy depending on the nature of the claim, however your solicitor will be with you every step of the way.
If you believe you may be entitled to make a medical negligence claim, call us on 0191 5666 500 or complete our online enquiry form to arrange an initial free consultation with no obligation.