The 5 most common types of Medical Negligence claim
In today’s NHS, a recent estimate suggests that it treats a million patients every thirty-six hours. With an aging population, particular lifestyle factors and rising costs, the system is at crisis point and unfortunately, mistakes are inevitable.
If the mistake is avoidable, it could constitute Medical Negligence (also known as Clinical Negligence) and it is possible to claim for compensation to cover treatments, suffering and financial losses.
There are many reasons for a medical professional or organisation to be negligent, ranging from poor advice to general surgical errors.
Here are the top 5:
Surgical operations should be carried out to the highest possible standards, but by the nature of the process, there is always an element of risk involved. Notwithstanding this, reasonable skill and care must be taken to minimise the risk of complications occurring.
The most common surgical errors include:
- The wrong part of the body being operated on. This includes, for example, cases where surgeons amputate a healthy limb instead of the diseased one.
- Organs being perforated. This may be caused by a simple slip of the hand or by careless planning of the operation.
- The wrong operation being carried out. This is usually less a surgical error than a lack of communication, but it can still be devastating.
- Foreign objects left in the body. Small tools or other pieces of equipment left behind can have a serious effect on the patient’s health.
- Infection caused by poor hygiene. Surgical procedures must be sterile, and any mistake can lead to serious illness or even death.
- Cosmetic surgery causing scarring or disfigurement. Errors in cosmetic surgery can deeply impact on the victim’s life.
Pregnancy and birth injuries
The process of pregnancy and childbirth is a natural and normal process for the majority of mothers and their babies. When intervention is required, however, there can be serious implications for both mother and child.
Pregnancy and birth injuries can take place before, during or even after the birth process. Among many things that can go wrong due to Medical Negligence, include:
- During pregnancy, injuries can include Maternal Diabetes or Gestational Diabetes; Pre-Eclampsia; Uterine Rupture and Placental Abruption. Wrongful birth cases also come under this category, such as failed sterilisation or vasectomy, or if the parents were not warned of the risk of the child being born with a specific disability.
- During labour, injuries can include Cerebral Palsy; Episiotomy; Erb’s Palsy; Brachial Plexus Injuries; Ventouse or Forceps Delivery.
- After the birth, injuries can include Congenital Hip Dysplasia.
In general, doctors try their best to give a correct diagnosis to their patients, but mistakes do and can happen. Occasionally, there are valid reasons for a failure to give a correct diagnosis, such as a condition being very difficult to detect or displaying symptoms similar to unrelated conditions.
Far more often, though, a misdiagnosis can happen due to the doctor failing to take account of the history of presenting symptoms and actioning the appropriate treatment pathway. This may result in the patient undergoing unnecessary pain and suffering, and perhaps being unable to earn a living for a period. In more extreme cases though, such as failing to identify a cancer until it becomes untreatable, this can lead to death.
More rarely, medical misdiagnosis can involve diagnosing a condition that isn’t there. Although this might seem a less serious issue, it can lead to physical and mental suffering and even destroy the patient’s health. For example, if a benign tumour were wrongly diagnosed as cancer, the patient might have to go through debilitating chemotherapy unnecessarily.
Prescription and medication errors
The correct medication can save your life or enable you to live without excessive pain. If you are given medication inappropriately however, it can have serious consequences. Either the wrong medication or two medications that react badly together could result in brain damage, allergic reaction, digestive problems, psychological illness or even death.
Common errors that could result in a Medical Negligence claim include:
- The wrong medication being prescribed or dispensed, whether this happens in a hospital, a GP’s surgery or a pharmacy.
- Medication given at an incorrect dosage or for an incorrect period.
- Medications prescribed together when the combination is known to be dangerous.
- Medication prescribed that the patient is known to be allergic to.
- Failure to review repeat prescriptions, resulting in medication being given inappropriately on an ongoing basis.
Failure to be adequately consented
You are entitled to decide which, if any, of the available forms of treatment to undergo in adequate time prior to surgery or any other kind of medical procedure. Medical professionals must therefore provide advice and information about the risks and benefits of the procedure and any reasonable alternatives, which includes any non-surgical approaches.
If you have suffered some harm following a medical procedure and feel you were not fully consented and think if you were given the information noted above you would have decided differently, then you may have merits of a claim on the basis of a failure to provide informed consent.
Contact the Medical Negligence specialists – Osborne Morris & Morgan
If you think you may have suffered from Medical Negligence due to one of these or any other causes, we would like to help you claim for the compensation you deserve.
Contact us on 01525 378177 or online, to discuss your situation.