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Medical negligence can vary in meaning but the generalisation of it is that it is treatment or a service provided by the medical environment i.e. a medical practitioner that has in some way caused you harm either by making a person more ill or actually creating a totally different illness which otherwise wouldn’t have been present. When a patient is injured through no fault of their own but through the actions of a health practitioner that could have been avoided then a negligence act has occurred.
That said all injuries that happen under the treatment of health care workers cannot always be considered as negligence, medical accidents or adverse accidents can take place. Such accidents may occur as there has been adverse effects or complications to a certain type of treatment or medication but no one is actually to blame.
Examples of medical negligence can include;
- Failure to diagnose a patient’s condition which may lead the condition to worsen while the correct diagnosis is being worked out.
- Diagnose a patient with the wrong condition which in turn can delay the true diagnosis and the patient may receive the wrong medication in the first instances and be delayed the correct medication causing the illness to worsen.
- Wrong sight surgery, when surgery is performed on another part of the body which may have been fine and not needed treatment atall.
- Complications of surgery, this can take on different forms as patients can have different organs affected by surgery some people may experience another organ being perpetrated or patients can have problems with the anaesthetic which can be very dangerous even cause brain injuries.
- Failure to obtain consent, this can be when a health practitioner does not get consent in writing from a patients to go ahead with treatment. Sometimes patients are not completely informed of the risks of a type of treatment or surgery and if complications occur and the patient suffers not knowing that this problem could have occurred then a negligent act has been committed.
What happens if a negligent act has been committed?
First off the victim of the negligence should have treatment to try to correct any procedure that has caused them an injury or harm. They may feel that they want to transfer to a different hospital or just get a second opinion to ensure they know the full extent to which the negligence has gone. The next steps to happen are entirely the choice of the victim and maybe the victim’s family. If the people involved are just seeking information to why their standard of care slipped and an apology then simply writing a letter of complaint to the hospital may conclude this. Making a formal complaint can be done through the NHS Complaints Procedure and by doing so can give you detail of what happened and what went wrong which in turn can help towards making a decision of whether to claim compensation.
However, if the victim and family wish to pursue compensation then seeking out an expert solicitor in medical negligence maybe necessary as the claims process for medical negligence can be quite complicated. Inorder to understand the claims process access ‘A Study of Medical Negligence Claiming in Scotland’. It is important to understand that when making a claim for compensation may not always give you answers to why the negligence was committed or an apology you may deserve so going through the complaints department first should be considered.
Instructing a Solicitor
It is vital to investigate a variety of solicitors, find out how long they have been operating and their success rate in medical negligence cases so that you are sure that they have the capabilities to successfully lead you case. The solicitor will need full access to your case and all medical records. They may first have you assessed by a medical expert so that they can assess your case and evaluate its full potential. After the evaluation the solicitor will inform if the case will deliver in court and if they will take on the case.