Two examples of clinical negligence claims
The following two examples outline the injury sustained, the problems caused by the injury and the compensation consequently awarded.
1. Orthopaedic Surgical Negligence
“I went into Hospital to improve the quality of my life. I left with it completely turned upside down. The money has helped a lot, but I’d rather have my health back.”
Peter had suffered from right hip pain for a number of years. His GP referred him to Hospital so that he could undergo a right hip replacement. He agreed to undergo the procedure as he thought he would be able to live his life pain free. After the surgery, the Surgeon said it had been a success. He felt great. He looked forward to the future.
Things did not go according to plan…The pain continued. It worsened. It became unbearable. He couldn’t walk.
It came to light that the prosthesis used for the right hip replacement had been fitted incorrectly. It had caused damage to the surrounding muscles and bones. “What a mess” he said. He underwent revisionary surgery. The recovery was long, difficult and painful. He was off work for a year. “I had bills to pay, two children to feed, I didn’t know how I or my family were going to cope” he said. His wife, Carol, had to provide him with a lot of help.
Things that we often take for granted he could not do for himself, such as putting his socks on or tying his shoelaces. He struggled to walk more than ten metres despite using crutches. He was upset, and angry. He was disappointed. He was depressed. “I attended counselling sessions” he said. “I have tried to move on”. He knows that there is a risk that he will need further surgery in the future due to bone damage caused when the prosthesis moved. He has developed arthritis sooner than normal.
The compensation Peter was awarded has helped cover past loss of earnings and expenses he incurred when he travelled to and from medical appointments. He also received damages as a result of the pain he experienced.
2. Urological Surgical Negligence
“When I was told I had prostate cancer, I thought I was going to die”.
George was scared. “I didn’t know how I was going to tell my partner”. He was booked in to undergo radical prostatectomy surgery. His prostate was removed. He developed urinary incontinence, sexual dysfunction and clinical depression.
George had to stop working. He was unable to pay his rent and had to move to another part of the country. As a result, he was referred to a different hospital for ongoing treatment and met with a new consultant. “I couldn’t believe what happened next. How could something like this happen?” Nothing could prepare George for what he was told.
The new consultant said that there had been some sort of mistake and he had been mistakenly diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. His test results indicated that he had not suffered with prostate cancer either before or after surgery. Nor had the surgeons managed to completely remove his prostate, as they had intended.
George sought legal advice. “It mattered so much to me that there was a full independent investigation into what happened. I couldn’t have afforded to pay privately but Longden Walker and Renney acted on a no-win-no-fee basis. They obtained independent medical advice on my behalf.”
It transpired that, at the time, George had been suffering with another condition, acute prostatitis, which should have been treated with painkillers and a two to four week course of antibiotics. He didn’t need to have his prostate removed.