Medical negligence covers a broad spectrum of malpractice, including such things as surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and delayed diagnosis, which may result in it being too late to receive treatment. While most people receive excellent healthcare in the UK, occasionally things do go wrong, which is when you will need the expertise of medical negligence lawyers at your side.
All cases of clinical negligence can have a negative impact on your health and emotional wellbeing. A worst-case scenario, for example, may result in life-long injury with debilitating consequences or may even reduce life expectancy.
Below the team of medical malpractice solicitors at Graysons outline some of the key things you need to know about negligence in healthcare, as well as what to do if you believe you have been a victim of medical malpractice.
What is medical negligence?
Medical negligence is a term used to describe substandard care, which directly results in injury, disability and losses. This could be due to failing to correctly diagnose a condition, surgical error, or being given the wrong treatment. It can include cases where the correct treatment is given but is delivery below acceptable standards. Medical negligence can also cover poor aftercare, this would include failing to regularly turn a bed-bound patient resulting in pressure sores.
Clinical negligence covers all healthcare settings, both in the NHS and in private practice, including negligence and malpractice in nursing, GP negligence, and hospital negligence. It also includes elective surgery, such as cosmetic procedures. If you believe you have been a victim of clinical negligence an expert medical malpractice attorney, such as the team of legal experts at Graysons, will be able to advise as to whether or not you have a clinical negligence case.
What are some examples of medical negligence?
Medical negligence covers a broad range of scenarios. Some of the most common claims for medical malpractice fall under the following areas:
Delayed diagnosis – especially in cases where treatment is time-critical. Delayed diagnosis might relate a patient with cancer who fails to get diagnosed, causing the condition to worsen, or being discharged from a hospital with a serious illness that a doctor has failed to spot. Delayed diagnosis can also cover birth injuries, including a mother not being given an emergency C-section in a timely manner, causing further complications for her or injury to the infant.
Misdiagnosis of cancer – this covers cases where a medical professional has diagnosed cancer incorrectly, such as diagnosing cancer symptoms as another illness or failing to spot them at all.
Surgical error – this typically covers preventable surgical errors. Examples include foreign objects being left in a patient’s body, such as clamps and gauzes, operating on the wrong surgical site, operating on the wrong patient, causing avoidable damage to nerves, muscles, and tissues, and receiving the wrong dosage of anaesthesia.
Wrong medication is given – this covers a broad spectrum of errors, including being prescribed inappropriate medication, the incorrect labelling of drugs, and administrative errors. Being given the wrong medication or incorrect dosage can cause pain and suffering and may make your existing condition worse.
Birth injury – this includes clinical neglect during labour causing injuries to the mother as well as injuries to the infant before and after birth. Examples include damage caused during a forceps delivery, fractured bones to the infant, third and fourth-degree perineal tears, and incorrectly performed episiotomies.
Other medical negligence claims may include failure to provide or arrange treatment, referral errors, failing to act on information, failure to organise the appropriate tests, failing to warn of the risks of surgery, failure to follow-up after surgery, and hospital-acquired infections caused by poor hygiene and unsterilised equipment, including bacterial infections like MRSA.
How do I make a medical negligence claim?
Your first port of call should be with a professional and expert medical malpractice solicitor, such as the team of legal experts at Graysons. You can call us, send us an email, or visit us by appointment. A medical attorney will look at your clinical negligence claim, and, if they believe you do have a case, they will start the medical negligence claim for you. This will include gathering all the records and evidence, getting independent expert medical opinions, and taking statements from witnesses. If required, medical negligence lawyers will attend court on your behalf, although most medical malpractice claims are settled before they go to trial.
How do you prove medical negligence?
To prove medical negligence, you must be able to demonstrate that the care you received fell below acceptable standards and that this has caused you harm. This could include physical injury, but can also encompass emotional damage, psychological damage, or financial losses. A successful clinical negligence claim must demonstrate that the harm/suffering you have experienced was caused by the actions or inactions of a medical or healthcare professional. An expert medical lawyer will be able to help you gather all the required information and ensure the most successful outcome possible.
How long does it take to settle a clinical negligence claim?
Complex medical negligence claims can take several years, especially if they are contested and result in court proceedings. However, for most medical malpractice claims, you can expect it to take at least two years due to the complexity of the issues involved. Key to a successful medical malpractice claim is an expert medical solicitor who will ensure your claim is dealt with in the most efficient way possible.
Is there a time limit for making medical malpractice and negligence claim?
Yes, you must file a medical negligence claim within three years of the incident taking place or from your knowledge of substandard care. However, this timeframe is extended if the patient has limited mental capacity or is under 18.
How much compensation might I receive?
The amount of compensation you receive will be dependent on various factors, including the severity of your injuries, the length of illness and recovery time, the extent of lost earnings, if any, and whether you need ongoing care. Other factors considered will include the impact to your overall wellbeing and health and the cost of any adjustments for your home and lifestyle. A medical negligence lawyer will be able to advise on how much compensation you might receive if your claim is successful.
How can a medical negligence expert help me?
Suing a hospital for negligence, a GP or a private health care practitioner can be a stressful and daunting task. An experienced medical attorney will be able to skillfully manage your claim for you while also helping you secure the best outcome. If you believe you have a clinical negligence claim and are searching for the best medical negligence solicitors, then contact Graysons today.