First, Happy New Year! It doesn’t seem THAT long since we were heralding the start of 2011 and here we are at 2012 already!
Over the Christmas and New Year holidays I have been looking at the area of Clinical Negligence and thinking about the impact on the lives of people who are affected when treatment does not go according to plan.
At some point in our lives most of us will require medical tretament of some sort. This might just be in the form of visiting the GP or attending hospital or having to stay as an inpatient. Whatever medical advice you seek the fact is that you are entitled to receive competent advice and treatment. On many occasions medical advisors get this right and you receive the treatment you need. On other occasions however the treatment may be inadequate and this can have consequences both in terms of the effect upon your health and also financially. If this happens then you are entitled to make a claim to compensate you for the consequential damage you have suffered.
To pursue a claim you will have to show that the treatment you received was below that which you were entitled to expect of a reasonably competent medical practitioner. Effectively you will argue that the medical practitioner was “negligent”.
Negligence on the part 0f a medical practitioner can arise in a number of ways. In so far as GPs are concerned this can be in the form of failing to diagnose a health problem at all or there being a delay in diagnosing a problem which can have consequences. GPs also have a duty to ensure that the medication prescribed for you is reasonable. If you consider that your GP has failed in any of these areas with you and as result your health or finances have suffered then you may be able to pursue a claim.
Doctors and Consultants at hospitals also have a duty to provide an adequate standard of care. In some cases a failure in this is obvious – for example you go into hospital and during surgery a sugrical tool or swab is left inside you or the hospital mistakenly treat the wrong limb! But negligence is not restricted to these “obvious” areas and if you feel that following treatment at hospital you are unexpectedly in a worse condition than before you went in then it s worth chatting this through with a solicitor – you may have a claim against the hospital.
A growing area of complaint I have seen recently is in relation to the care provided on the wards. Just like any other professional, ward staff have a duty to provide a competent and reasonable level of care. If the treatment you receive falls below that standard and as a result you take longer to recover than expected or you develop other health problems you didn’t previously have, then again you may have a claim against the hospital.
The effects of inadequate tretament can be far reaching and if you think you have received substandard treatment whilst being treated by a medical practitioner then it is worthwhile seeking a legal opinion on whether you have a possible claim against them. Not every instance of poor care will amount to “negligence” but it is certainly worthwhile asking a solicitor to consider this for you.
I am more than happy to discuss any matters with you and give you some guidance on what you may be able to do.