Most people go into hospital hoping to be well looked after and unfortunately in some cases this does not happen and as a result of medical negligence you may have suffered additional significant harm. In such circumstances you may wish to consider suing the NHS. Alternatively, you may have been treated in a private hospital in which case you will need to sue your private Consultant.
The Clinical Negligence Team has significant experience in dealing with cases of negligent hospital treatment and can advise whether there may be a claim for negligence in your particular circumstances.
When you are admitted to hospital the medical staff in hospital have a duty of care to look after you and treat you to an acceptable medical standard. If there is a failure to provide care to an acceptable standard, then this may meet the legal test for negligence and you may be in a position to claim for compensation.
You may have a claim in medical negligence if you attended hospital for treatment or expected a particular outcome, but suffered an adverse effect as a result of the medical care received. It is important to note that there are lots of medical complications which are unavoidable and are not as a result of any medical negligence. However, there are a number of situations where medical mistakes happen which should not have happened and in which case you should seek advice as to your options. If you are not clear as to whether a mistake has been made or not, then it is open to you to complain to the hospital and this may give you further information and help you assess the quality of the treatment you received.
The level of compensation in cases relating to negligent hospital treatment will be dependent on what your circumstances were at the time of your injury and the extent of your injuries. If you have been unable to work as a result of your injury then you will have a claim for loss of earnings. If you have suffered a very serious physical injury then the effects on your life will be much more significant and will probably warrant a higher level of compensation. Compensation is broken down into two key areas, the first is for general damages to compensate you for your pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. There are then special damages to compensate you for specific financial losses including loss of earnings, the need for further medical treatment or therapy, the need for additional care or aids and equipment. There is a long list of potential heads of loss and again, an experienced clinical negligence Solicitor will be able to fully investigate and advise you on this.
Tracy Norris-Evans, a Partner in the Clinical Negligence Team, recovered £641,000 for Mr S who suffered anoxic brain damage when he made an attempt at self strangulation whilst under the highest level of observations at a psychiatric hospital. Liability was hotly contested in this case.
Richard Coleman, Partner, recently acted for a client who received compensation of £236,000 for the injuries she suffered as a result of having unnecessary ankle fusion surgery. Our client attended hospital with symptoms in her foot and ankle and the Doctor failed to diagnose that she had a ruptured posterior tibialis tendon. Had this correct diagnosis been made she would have been treated conservatively with physiotherapy and orthotics. Instead the Doctor advised that she have surgery to fuse her ankle, which she agreed to, but was later found to have been unnecessary. As a result our client was left with permanent mobility problems, the need for specialist aids and equipment (including orthotics) and care needs. Her case was settled out of Court.
Joachim Stanley of the Clinical Negligence Team acted for a client pursuing a claim for negligent treatment of a fractured wrist leading to numerous operations and permanent disability. In June P was admitted to the Accident and Emergency Department of the Defendant Hospital, having fallen onto her left hand and injured her left (non-dominant) wrist. X-rays showed a severely displaced fracture of the distal radius. The fracture was then reduced under sedation, and a plaster cast was applied. When she was seen as a outpatient at the Fracture Clinic approximately 2 weeks later, further x-rays showed a significant loss of the reduction. P was eventually admitted to hospital on 4 July and underwent an manipulation under anaesthetic of the distal left radius. This procedure was not a success, and she was referred to another hospital. Thereafter, P underwent a further 8 surgical procedures over a period of years. Unsurprisingly, these became increasingly difficult, and she eventually underwent a partial fusion operation, which limited movement in the wrist but reduced her levels of pain. Our investigations revealed that there was a negligent failure in June 2006 to re-admit P for re-reduction of the fracture and fixation with a plate or pins. There was a further negligent failure on 4 July 2006 to perform open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture, probably with bone-grafting. Had these steps been taken then the disastrous serious of events which followed would have been avoided. The Defendant Hospital initially denied that its care had been negligent, but after persistence from the Clinical Negligence Team the Hospital admitted they had breached their duty of care to P. We were thereafter able to negotiate an out of Court settlement of £200,000 on P’s behalf, with which she was very happy.