New Enquiries 0344 854 7000
Existing Enquiries 0191 232 1123
Conveyancing 0191 260 6571
New Enquiries 0344 854 7000
Existing Enquiries 0191 232 1123
Conveyancing 0191 260 6571
New Enquiries 0344 854 7000
Existing Enquiries 0191 232 1123
Conveyancing 0191 260 6571

Start your FREE Enquiry

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Causation in clinical negligence claims

5 December 2023

Share This Story:

Caitlin Sykes, a trainee Solicitor in the Clinical Negligence Department considers the issue of causation in a clinical negligence claim following the decision in the case of Pickering.

What is Causation in Clinical Negligence?

Causation in clinical negligence is the adverse effect suffered because of negligent care, (otherwise referred to as a breach of duty).

Causation is determined by a ‘but for’ test – but for the negligence, would the injury still have occurred?

In practice this means for a clinical negligence claim to be successful you not only need to establish that there has been a breach of duty (care falling below a reasonable standard) but also that there was a causative or adverse outcome.

What can case law tell us about Causation?

A leading case in clinical negligence regarding causation is Pickering V Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (2022), whereby the Claimant had suffered from muscular dystrophy and atrial fibrillation for a number of years.

The Defendant essentially admitted breach of duty, in that there had been a failure to treat the Claimant with an immediate low molecular weight heparin injection. The Claimant suffered a stroke and the question for causation was the Claimant’s stroke attributable to the failure of the Defendant to provide heparin treatment 67 hours prior?

The Judgement

The judge in this case had written and oral expert evidence of four relevant medical fields to consider including a neurologist, a consultant in general medicine, geriatrics and stroke medicine, and two haematologists.

The Claimant’s haematologist expert evidence in this case was favored with the judge finding that had the breach of duty not occurred, the size of the clot responsible for the Claimant’s stroke would have reduced in size by over 50%, that the stroke could have been avoidable if not for the Defendant’s original breach.

It is important to note that the judge criticised both the Claimant’s and the Defendant’s medical experts. This signifies the pivotal importance of choosing the right expert for a clinical negligence claim, which can make or break the claim.

How can TRUE help?

If you believe that you have undergone a procedure or a medical treatment resulting in an undesired or harmful effect, you may be entitled to compensation.

Our solicitors dealing with clinical negligence claims are based at our Newcastle head office but can assist anyone in living in England and Wales with their case.

We offer our clients:

Our team of expert lawyers will be able to tell you whether you may have a case against your healthcare provider and can also advise you of the process should you wish to pursue a claim.

If you’re looking to make a claim against your doctor or hospital, call us on 0344 854 7000 to discuss your case, or submit your details below and we’ll call you back at a time convenient for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start your FREE enquiry today!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Please Note: Estimate amounts are guidelines only. Your injury and recovery are as individual as you are. The amounts are guideline amounts only and any settlement will be based upon the evidence of medical practitioners.
  • Accredited Member of the Credit Hire Organisation
  • Law Society Conveyancing Quality Scheme Accreditation
  • Brain Injury Association
  • Mass
  • BIG-logo
  • The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms