Clinical / Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is often referred to as Clinical Negligence because it covers many different professionals who provide treatment, ranging from dentists and psychologists to cosmetic surgeons. 

Medical negligence means that the treatment you have received falls below an acceptable standard that would be considered reasonable for someone with that practitioner’s experience and specialism.  This can also include failing to do something which they should have done which may have avoided your injury. 

When a person suffers as a result of a medical mistake they may be able to claim compensation for the injury that they have suffered. 

However, not all mistakes can be considered negligent in law. A negative outcome may not be due to negligence on the part of the practitioner. 

Examples of Medical Negligence Claims 
  • Accident and Emergency Claims 
  • Late Cancer Diagnosis Claims 
  • Orthopaedic Claims 
  • Dental Negligence Claims 
  • Optical Claims 
  • Gynaecological Claims 
  • Missed Fracture Claims 
  • Pregnancy and Birth Injury Claims 
  • Surgical Negligence Claims 
  • G.P. Negligence Claims 
  • Late Meningitis Diagnosis 
  • Urological Negligence 
  • Misinterpreting X-rays  
  • Cosmetic Surgery Claims 
  • Claim resulting in death 
  • Contracting MRSA  

The staff in the Accident and Emergency Department (also known as the Emergency Depart-ment or the ‘ED’)  are responsible for assessing the nature and extent of injuries suffered by casualties who arrive at the hospital.  They must decide what treatment the casualty requires and whether the patient should be admitted to hospital or whether the patient can be safely discharged.  If the patient is discharged, the Accident and Emergency Department need to decide whether the patient should be referred for follow-up in due course.

The medical specialism of staff in the Accident and emergency Department is known as “Emergency Medicine”.

Claims can arise, for example, where Accident and Emergency Department staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • diagnose an injury suffered by a casualty, for example a fracture;
  • examine a casualty properly;
  • admit a patient whose injuries require further treatment;
  • treat a casualty correctly; and/or
  • arrange for follow-up of a patient after discharge, for example, referral to the fracture clinic.

Colorectal surgeons specialise in performing surgery to the bowel.  .

Claims can arise, for example, where Colorectal Surgeons provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform surgery competently, for example, failing to achieve a proper seal after joining two sections of bowel with anastomosis; or
  • diagnose cancer of the bowel.

Dermatologists specialise in the management of skin conditions.

Claims can arise, for example, where dermatologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • diagnose a malignant feature in the skin, for example a melanoma;
  • limit ultra violet radiation treatment causing burns.

Gynaecologists are responsible for management of the health of the female reproductive system.

Claims can arise, for example, where gynaecologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform hysterectomies competently.

Maxillofacial surgeons perform operations to treat diseases, defects and injuries to the head, neck, face, jaws and mouth.

Claims can arise, for example, where nephrologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • competently perform surgery to correct a retrusive lower jaw;
  • correctly fit dental implants leading to damage to the facial nerves.

Obstetricians and midwives are responsible for the care and management of pregnant mothers and their babies during pregnancy and childbirth.

Claims can arise, for example, where obstetric staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • failing to monitor a baby’s condition, for example, failing to detect foetal distress causing cerebral palsy with a CTG;
  • failure to diagnose placenta praevia leading to maternal haemorrhage;
  • failure to diagnose pre-eclampsia; and
  • incorrect management of shoulder dystocia (the baby’s shoulder getting stuck) during labour leading to excessive traction on the baby’s brachial plexus and the development of Erb’s Palsy.

 

Orthopaedic surgeons are responsible for the care and management of health in children.

Claims can arise, for example, where orthopaedic staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • detect congenital defects, for example in a baby born with a hole in the heart;
  • detect disease, for example, the presence of a brain tumour.

Urologists manage disorders affecting the human urinary system.

Claims can arise, for example, where urologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform a cystoscopy competently leading to urethral damage.

The staff in the Anaesthetics Department are responsible for the care of patients who anaesthetised in order to undergo operations or other procedures in hospital.

Claims can arise from substandard Anaesthetic care where, for example, the Anaesthetic Department staff fail to:

  • Properly monitor the patient whilst under anaesthetic;
  • properly anaesthetise a patient.

Cytogeneticists detect genetic abnormalities in cells.  .

Claims can arise, for example, where Cytogeneticists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • detect a genetic abnormality in an amniocentesis sample when screening antenatally for chromosomal abnormality .

General Medical staff work in hospitals to prevent, diagnose and treat adult diseases such as asthma, arthritis, diabetes and obesity.

Claims can arise, for example, where hospital staff working in General Medicine provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • examine a patient either at all or properly where an urgent assessment is needed, for example, in a case of suspected meningitis;
  • refer a patient for specialist investigations, for example, an echocardiagram for a patient with a suspected cardiac defect; or
  • refer a patient to a specialist for treatment of a suspected medical  problem, for example, referral of a patient with a suspected small bowel obstruction to a colorectal surgeon.

Haematologists are responsible for management of problems relating to the blood.

Claims can arise, for example, where gynaecologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • Correctly anticoagulate patients.

Nephrologists manage conditions relating to the kidneys.

Claims can arise, for example, where nephrologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • competently deal with a patient’s dialysis.

Ophthalmologists are responsible for the care and management of the eye.

Claims can arise, for example, where ophthalmic staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • Provide the correct treatment for an eye condition;
  • detect an underlying problem on examination for example, failing to note changes in the optic discs of a patient caused by a brain tumour.

Plastic surgeons are responsible for the reconstruction and repair of parts of the body to treat injury or for cosmetic reasons.

Claims can arise, for example, where plastic surgery staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform  cosmetic surgery, for example nose reshaping (“rhinoplasty”) competently;
  • provide the patient with sufficient information about the risks of a procedure in order to obtain the informed consent of the patient.

Vascular surgeons manage diseases affecting the arteries and the veins (the “vascular system”) using medication and surgery.

Claims can arise, for example, where vascular surgeons provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform an arterial bypass operation competently leading to nerve and tissue damage.

Chiropodists, also known as podiatrists, are responsible for caring for the feet of their patients.

Claims can arise where chiropodists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • refer a patient whose condition requires specialist investigation or treatment; and/or
  • treat a patient correctly.

Dentists are responsible for the management and care of their patient’s teeth.

Dental hygienists help with the dental hygiene of patients.

Claims can arise, for example, where dental staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • provide root canal treatment and instead proceeding to inappropriate tooth extraction and dental implants;
  • safeguard the nerves in the jaw and face from damage on insertion of dental implants;
  • competently perform tooth extraction leading to sinus damage;
  • dropping a piece of dental equipment down a patient’s throat;
  • extraction of the wrong tooth; and/or
  • ensure that descaling equipment was operating at a safe temperature so as to avoid scalding patient.

General Practitioners (“GP’s”) provide most primary healthcare to patients in England and Wales..

Claims can arise, for example, where GP’s provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • examine a patient either at all or properly where an urgent assessment is needed, for example, in a case of suspected meningitis;
  • admit a patient to hospital for treatment – for example, for appendicitis;
  • refer a patient for specialist investigations, for example, a patient with suspected small bowel obstruction; or
  • diagnose cancer of the bowel.

Haematologists are responsible for management of problems relating to liver, gallbladder, biliary tree and pancreas.

Claims can arise, for example, where hepatologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • diagnose the cause of bleeding within the liver following biopsy.

Neurologists manage conditions relating to the brain and nervous system.

Claims can arise, for example, where nephrologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • diagnose and treat electrolyte imbalance causing neurological symptoms (“hyponatraemia”).

Orthopaedic surgeons are responsible for the care and management of the musculoskeletal system.

Claims can arise, for example, where orthopaedic staff provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • perform competent joint replacement surgery;
  • perform competent spinal surgery; or
  • advise the patient properly about the risks of surgery, for example the risk of paralysis after a laminectomy operation.

Radiologists are responsible for the provision of radiotherapy and taking and interpreting x-rays and other scanning media for diagnostic purposes.

Claims can arise, for example, where radiologists provide patients with substandard care in failing to:

  • Interpret an x-ray correctly for example, missing a fracture or tumour.

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