Medical negligence is an ongoing problem in the UK. For as long as medical care is provided by fallible human beings, there will always exist a chance that the quality of that care will suffer – whether through malice or incompetence.
NHS England receives around thirteen thousand medical negligence claims every year. This amounts to an ongoing bill in excess of eighty billion pounds.
In most cases, patients will be unsure whether the threshold for medical negligence has been met. This is where the advice of a no-win-no-fee medical negligence solicitor can be invaluable.
So, what is driving this problem? A few specific sorts of medical negligence account for the vast majority of cases.
Misdiagnosis and Delayed Diagnosis
If a medical practitioner is slow in providing you with a diagnosis, then your outcomes may suffer. If the same practitioner gives you the wrong diagnosis, then the consequences might be far worse. You’ll suffer the side effects of a treatment which might not be effective, and you won’t be administered a treatment that actually is effective.
Surgical Errors and Procedures
Errors which occur during surgery can be extremely consequential. A patient might be given too much anaesthetic, which can result in permanent brain damage; on the other hand, they might be given too little, which can mean consciousness during the procedure. Surgeons can also operate on the wrong body part, leave foreign objects in the body, or allow the site to become infected post-operation. All of these, in different ways, can be very damaging for the patient.
Medication Errors and Prescription Mistakes
Even if the appropriate medication is prescribed, it might still be dispensed in the wrong way. The wrong dosage might be advised, whether verbally or via the label. The wrong drug entirely might find its way to the patient. Or, the specific combination of drugs might cause a reaction that the medical professional should have anticipated. All of these amount to preventable harm, which could provide grounds for a medical negligence case.
Birth Injuries and Obstetric Malpractice
Childbirth is an extremely common thing in the UK. But every childbirth is different, and it’s possible for those delivering the baby to be taken by surprise. Injury can occur to the mother, or the baby, as a result of the action taken – or not taken. For example, the mother might ask for an episiotomy, only for the midwife to delay the procedure and cause a tear in the patient’s perineum.
This can leave lasting scars, of both the physical and emotional kind. This is a kind of medical negligence claim that is, unfortunately, on the rise, with maternity negligence cases rising by a third in three years.