We all generally regard doctors, nurses and medical practitioners as providing excellent, caring services to us, their patients. Nevertheless, there are times when we feel that the person we placed our trust in may have let us down – causing an injury to us or to a loved one.
In such a case, we are at the very least entitled to an explanation; and a treating doctor is required by the General Medical Council (their governing body) to inform a patient when a treatment has gone wrong.
Where it becomes clear that an injury (or death) was caused or contributed to by the breach of the duty of care while in the course of clinical or medical services (including dental or nursing services), then you, a dependent or family member may be entitled to financial compensation for what is termed as medical negligence (also known as clinical negligence).
If the medical treatment you received was private, in that you paid the doctor either yourself or through your medical insurer, and the treatment was substandard, then you may also be entitled to claim for breach of contract.
Claims for clinical negligence often arise out of, for example, accident and emergency, anaesthetics, cancel treatment, cardiothoracic surgery, cardiology, gastroenterology, general practice, keyhole surgery, mental health, neurosurgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, oncology, ophthalmology, orthopaedics, paediatrics, plastic surgery, psychiatry, radiology, sterilisation, urology, vascular surgery and others.
Doctors have been found to be in breach of care to patients for reasons such as failed or delayed diagnosis, failure to warn patients of the risks of a treatment, failure to obtain proper consent for treatment, medication errors, careless surgical procedures, delayed referral to specialists, amongst others. Negligence can also arise out of system errors in hospitals where the treatment took place.
Most cases for medical negligence involve medical practitioners (i.e. doctors and surgeons); however, similar cases can also be brought against dentists, midwives, nurses, physiotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists.
New issues are constantly arising, for example, the retention of organs and tissues after post-mortems, the use of unsterilized instruments, early failure of replacement hips, misinterpreted breast screening and liability for infections acquired in hospitals.
Claims against medical professionals for injuries arising out of clinical negligence can be a difficult task. You need proof in the form of qualified medical experts to prove that it was very probable that there were serious errors in your medical treatment which no competent doctor would have made; and that those errors caused or contributed to the injury you are claiming for.
Burney Legal can get you access to such medical experts. If you believe that you, a dependant, or a deceased family member has been the victim of medical negligence, then speak to one of our claims specialists today. Alternatively, fill in our online form and one of our staff will respond to you within 24 hours.