Medical negligence is a far-reaching term, and covers all types of clinical or medical negligence that leads to avoidable harm. Many people think that only those who have been injured in surgery or given the wrong type of medication can claim compensation for medical negligence, but this isn’t true. The law protects you at every stage by giving patients the right to make medical negligence claims, from diagnosis to the carrying out of treatment, and everything in between. This goes for both private and NHS providers.
If you’ve experience negligent treatment from a medical professional, be they a:
You could be entitled to make a medical negligence compensation claim. To give you more of an idea of the types of circumstances that often result in clinical negligence claims being brought forward, here are five of the most common types of personal injury claims that fall under the medical negligence umbrella.
Did you know that approximately one in six patients who attend a GP surgery are misdiagnosed? There are many medical conditions and illnesses that share symptoms which can make diagnosing the issue difficult in some circumstances, but the implications of a wrongful diagnosis are stark.
A patient who receives the wrong diagnosis, or whose condition goes undetected completely, may experience worsening symptoms. In the most severe cases, misdiagnoses can be fatal. If you sought help from your GP and received the wrong diagnosis and therefore the wrong type of treatment, or if your condition wasn’t picked up on at all, you could have a medical negligence case.
Medical misdiagnosis can often lead to prolonged pain and discomfort, and can take an emotional toll on you, too. You might feel as though you’re making it up, or that you’re not really feeling how you think you do, because either your symptoms have been dismissed, or treatment isn’t helping and you’ve exhausted all available options.
The severity of misdiagnoses cannot be underestimated. If you were given the wrong diagnosis, underwent the wrong medical treatment, or went undiagnosed despite presenting with symptoms, you could make a claim for compensation. Misdiagnosis claims are one of the most common types of medical negligence cases.
2. Surgical Errors
Every type of surgery carries risks, and this is something a patient must consent to before having an operation. Generally speaking, the majority of operations carried out in the UK are successful and have no issues, but sometimes, negligence occurs. Surgical negligence goes beyond the risk of surgery.
For example, haemorrhaging is a risk with many surgeries, but a foreign object being left inside the body after surgery is not. Haemorrhaging therefore isn’t usually classed as negligence (unless malpractice leads to the haemorrhaging), but leaving a foreign piece of equipment inside a patient is severe negligence. Other types of surgical negligence that have been recorded include:
- Poor surgical hygiene leading to an infection
- The wrong operation being carried out
- An operation being carried out on the wrong part of the body
- Organ perforation
Some surgical errors are regarded as ‘Never Events’ by the NHS and the government, and these include “largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented” (NTH NHS). Never Events can cause serious, life-threatening, and life-altering harm to patients, and it’s important that those responsible are held to account.
If you’ve suffered harm during surgery that exceeds the standard risks, you could claim medical negligence compensation.
3. Medication Errors
More than 1.1 billion prescription items are dispensed every year in England alone. For the most part, the medications and dosages are correct, but sometimes, things go wrong. Common prescription errors include:
- The wrong type of medication being prescribed
- The wrong dosage of medication being prescribed
- Patients being given medication that they are allergic to
- Medications being prescribed together when they shouldn’t be
Being given the wrong medication or the incorrect dosage can be serious. You could suffer avoidable illness as a result, with extreme cases resulting in death. If you’ve been given the wrong type of medication or the wrong dosage, this is medical negligence and you can claim financial compensation for it.
4. Absence of or Poor Medical Advice
Medical professionals have a duty to tell you the risks of certain operations, procedures, and medications. This gives you, as a patient, the opportunity to weigh up the risks and consider alternative options. It’s all about ensuring you have enough information to make an informed and educated decision regarding your health. If a medical professional fails to inform you of the risk and there is a complication that arises from a procedure that you weren’t aware of, this is medical negligence.
5. Birth and Pregnancy Injuries
It’s thought that around five babies are born every single second around the world. In the UK, most births go smoothly, and mother and baby are healthy and home quickly; but unfortunately, some mothers and/or babies do incur injuries. These can happen during pregnancy, labour, and after birth. Some of the more common birth and pregnancy issues include:
- Parents not being informed about a disability the baby could be born with
- Tears during labour (second or third degree)
- Erb’s Palsy
- Hip dysplasia
These are just a few of the birth injuries that can happen, but this isn’t an exhaustive list. If a medical professional was too forceful, didn’t provide you with enough information, or continued down a certain delivery route despite knowing the risks, you could make a personal injury claim for medical negligence.
Making a Medical Negligence Claim
Whether you’ve experienced any of the above, or if you’ve had issues with opticians, dentists, or any other type of healthcare provider within the last three years, we can help you. Our team of specialist medical negligence solicitors are experts in helping patients get the justice they deserve when things go wrong at the hands of those with a duty of care.
To find out more about whether you could have a case, please contact us to arrange a free initial consultation with a clinical negligence solicitor. We work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so you don’t need to worry about the legal costs if your claim isn’t successful. We are dedicated to doing everything we can to make the clinical claims process easier. Call us today to learn more.