Top 10 Medical Negligence Claims
28 March 2019
The NHS does an incredible job administering healthcare for over 1 million patients every 36 hours. Medical treatment provided by the NHS is rated amongst the best in the world, unfortunately mistakes do happen, leading to devastating consequences for the patient and their families.
TRUE Solicitors LLP are skilled in pursuing medical negligence claims for clients; fighting for their right to justice, rehabilitation and the financial compensation they deserve. TRUE help our clients get their lives back on track by obtaining compensation to cover:
- Loss of earnings.
- Pain and suffering.
- Medical expenses such as, prescription charges and painkillers.
- Compensation for the care and support provided by family or friends.
- Reduced life expectancy.
- Ongoing illness.
- Recovery time.
- Expected lifestyle changes.
We have exposed the top 10 most common medical negligence claims in the UK, and what you should do if you have suffered due to substandard medical treatment.
Medical misdiagnosis is categorised as:
- Missed diagnosis
- Late diagnosis
- Incorrect diagnosis
The most commonly misdiagnosed illnesses include; cancer, diabetes, meningitis, stroke, parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis. As the majority of diseases are highly treatable when diagnosed early on, the effects of a misdiagnosis can result in a patient’s health being seriously compromised. In the worst-case scenarios, those affected by a misdiagnosis can be left facing an otherwise avoidable terminal illness.
Going in for general or emergency surgery can be a daunting prospect. Most patients that undergo surgery receive fantastic care and a positive outcome. Sadly, however, this is not always the case.
Examples of common surgical negligence include instances when the surgeon has:
- Left a foreign object, such as a medical instrument, in a patient’s body
- Caused avoidable injury or nerve damage to organs
- Operated on the wrong body part
Gynaecological care is that which is administered to women during a pregnancy, a routine cervical smear test, or for more serious medical procedures such as a hysterectomy. Although most care is without fault, sometimes mistakes are made, and women experience health problems.
Inadequate care during pregnancy and birth can seriously affect both the mother’s and baby’s health. Women can be left with injuries such as internal bleeding, perineal tears, a retained placenta, and infertility problems. Babies can develop cerebral palsy before, during, and soon after birth, as a consequence of a brain injury. Such injuries can be caused by multiple examples of negligent care, such as a lack of oxygen to the brain due to delays in the mother being given a caesarean section. The consequences of such are devastating for the patients and families involved.
The NHS was recently forced to review thousands of cervical cancer screening results, after laboratory shortcomings meant that some women were mistakenly given the all-clear. Cervical cancer is extremely treatable when detected early, therefore being told an incorrect result can lead to precancerous cells developing into avoidable cancer.
Negligent gynaecological care can also include mistakes made during hysterectomy procedures or laparoscopic surgeries. Women can be left with problems such as urinary incontinence, severe abdominal and pelvic pain, inability to have sexual intercourse, and temporary or permanent infertility.
4. Cancer Care
Cancer sadly accounts for more than a quarter of all deaths in the UK. Half of those diagnosed with cancer in England and Wales will survive their disease for 10 years or more. A late or misdiagnosis of cancer can have devastating consequences. Undetected cancer can spread to other parts of the body, making it much harder to treat. In the worst-case scenario patients can be left facing terminal cancer.
The most commonly late or misdiagnosed cancers are typically those associated with the bowel, breast, cervical, lung, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, skin, and testicular cancer.
Contracting an infection due to negligent care can have life-threatening consequences. Patients can be faced with longer recovery times and the need for further medication, to limb amputation or even death. Infections can arise from negligence in the form of medical professionals failing to dispose of soiled dressings correctly, not using sterilised medical equipment, and through poor cleanliness and hygiene procedures.
Sepsis is one of the most common and deadly types of infection that can be caused due to negligent care is. According to The UK Sepsis Trust a quarter of all sepsis survivors suffer permanent, life-changing after-effects, and that sadly five people are killed by sepsis every hour in the UK. Sepsis is mainly associated with infections in the abdomen, lungs, urinary tract and pelvis, and can also be caused by a surgical infection, pneumonia, and meningitis.
The outcome of negligent cosmetic surgery can be life changing, affecting both the patients’ physical and mental health. Patients can be left with significant physical abnormalities, leading to the potential need for many additional corrective operations. Cosmetic negligence can arise in the form of burns and scarring, internal damage to organs and nerves due to faulty implants or substandard surgery, and inadequate after care.
Cosmetic surgical negligence can occur during any form of cosmetic procedure; however, it is especially common when involving breast augmentation, eyelid or brow lift surgery, cosmetic dentistry, or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck).
7. Medication Errors
A medication error can lead a patient’s condition worsening and can even cause permanent damage to their health. Examples of medication errors include:
- Patients being given medication that they are allergic to
- Being administered too much medication
- Receiving medication that adversely affects an existing medical condition
- Being given the wrong medication
A&E departments are the busiest and most overstretched medical services in the UK. According to NHS Digital there were 23.8 million attendances to A&E departments in England during 2017–18, an increase of 22% from 2008–09.
Patients typically find themselves needing to be admitted to A&E due to serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses, therefore the consequences of negligent treatment can be severe. Negligence can arise due to a medical practitioner’s failure to:
- Properly examine the patient and fully consider their symptoms, injury or illness
- Thoroughly and accurately interpret test results, x-rays or scans
- Admit patients for necessary further treatment
Whilst the majority of dental care administered in the UK is of a very high standard, occasionally negligent treatment can lead to infections, nerve damage, and loss of teeth. Dental negligence also encompasses oral cancer misdiagnoses, incorrect teeth being extracted, and cosmetic dentistry errors.
10. Nursing Care
Nurses provide essential care to patients, ensuring that they are given the correct medication, and that their health is monitored during treatment and recovery. The UK prides itself in maintaining a high standard of nursing care. However, nurses are only human, and mistakes can be made.
Nursing negligence can occur in hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, and care homes. Common examples include the failure to:
- Follow proper hygiene procedures which lead to a patient contracting an infection
- Inform a senior doctor of a patients declining health
- Administer the correct medication
- Anticipate, prevent, or treat pressure sores
What to do if you’ve suffered as a result of negligent medical treatment
It is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you have suffered due to medical negligence. You have up to three years from the date you became aware that you received negligent treatment care to make a claim.
Whilst you may be, understandably, reluctant to pursue a claim the financial compensation can be used to get your life back on track. It can be used to pay for things like ongoing medical care, necessary home adaptations and to compensate for loss of earnings and expected lifestyle changes. Through highlighting negligent medical care this can act as a building block to help to improve standards in both the NHS and private practice; so that other patients do not have to suffer in the same way.
If you or a loved one have a claim for negligent medical treatment, contact TRUE Solicitors today to speak to a member of our medical negligence team. We offer an initial, free, no obligation, assessment of your case.