I was watching a programme on TV a few nights ago about cases where people had suffered injury as a result of their doctor “getting it wrong” . This particular programme was about people who had gone into hospital for surgery which did not go as expected and had left them with ongoing and often permanent health problems
There are of course risks with every surgical procedure and if it does not go according to plan it may not be as a result of anyone’s fault – it was just one of the risks to be expected of the surgey. But doctors owe a “duty of care” their patients to manage the risks and to provide a reasonable and competent standard of care. And if doctors fall below that standard then you may be able to bring a claim for the injuries suffered and the financial losses that follow.
Solicitors refer to this area of law as “Clinical” or “Medical” negligence and it covers just about every occasion where the care you receive falls below the standard you are reasonably entitled to expect. The obvious example is the one I watched the programme on – where a surgeon left a surgical instrument inside a patient.
But clinical or medical negligence is not restricted to such cases and I have come across many instances where the care provided by nursing staff on the ward has fallen below the expcected standard. In those cases too a claim can be brought for the health problems that follow.
And clinical/medical negligence is not just about care you receive in hospital – your GP also owes you a duty of care in treating you. This means that your GP has to promptly diagnose the symptoms you go to see him about and if appropriate refer you for specialist investigation or treatment. If your GP fails to diagnose your symptoms at all or delays doing so and your health suffers as a result then you may be able to bring a claim against the GP
The duty of care owed by GPs also extends to prescribing you appropriate and correct medication. The effects of incorrect medication can have serious effects on a patient’s health and cause long term problems and financial losses.
If you believe that the treatment you have received at hospital by a doctor or other health professional or by your GP was below a reasonable standard then it is worth taking legal advice on whether you can bring a claim for the injuries and losses that follow.