Medical Negligence

Hospital Negligence Claims: What Patients Need to Know

May 8, 2024
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Understanding hospital negligence is not just about being informed; it can also help safeguard your rights. In this article we aim to provide you with knowledge about hospital negligence claims. We delve into the intricate claims process, ensuring you fully comprehend your rights every step of the way. From outlining the significance of gathering evidence to navigating legal procedures, our goal is to equip you with the tools to seek fair compensation for any harm endured due to hospital negligence. Your well-being matters and knowing how to protect it is key. 

Understanding Hospital Negligence 

 

Hospital negligence occurs when healthcare professionals fail to meet the standard of care expected in treating patients, leading to harm or injury. This can happen in various ways, such as misdiagnosis, surgical errors, medication mistakes, or inadequate treatment. For instance, if a doctor fails to accurately diagnose a condition or a surgeon makes a mistake during a procedure, it could result in serious consequences for the patient. Hospital negligence boils down to a breach of the duty of care owed to patients, which can have significant implications for their health and well-being. 

 

Types of Hospital Negligence 

 

Hospital negligence can manifest in various forms, each with its own potential repercussions for patients. Misdiagnosis, where a healthcare provider fails to correctly identify a patient’s condition, can lead to delayed treatment or unnecessary procedures. Surgical errors, such as operating on the wrong body part or leaving surgical instruments inside a patient, pose significant risks to patient safety. Medication mistakes, including prescribing the wrong dosage or medication, can result in adverse reactions or worsening of the patient’s condition. Additionally, inadequate monitoring or supervision of patients can lead to preventable complications or injuries. 

 

Surgical errors 

Instances of surgical error can have profound consequences for patients, leading to a range of potential complications. Surgical errors encompass a variety of mistakes, such as operating on the wrong body part, leaving surgical instruments or foreign objects inside the patient, or performing the wrong procedure altogether. These errors can result in serious harm, including infections, organ damage, nerve injuries, or even life-threatening complications. For example, we helped a client secure £7 million in compensation after a surgical error caused our client brain damage. Furthermore, surgical errors can prolong recovery time, necessitate additional surgeries, and cause emotional distress for patients and their families. 

Medication errors 

The World Health Organisation say that medication errors are more than just mistakes, they can affect patient well-being. Whether it’s receiving the wrong medication, an incorrect dosage, or overlooking potential drug interactions, the consequences can be severe. We have helped a client secure £5,500 in compensation, after being prescribed medication which was 10 times the intended dose. This medication error led to our client being rushed to hospital with confusion and breathing difficulties. Our client’s story highlights why it is essential for healthcare providers to diligently review prescriptions, consider patient allergies, and assess potential interactions to ensure safe and effective treatment. 

 

Infections 

Better Health say that hospital-acquired infections, can stem from poor hygiene practices or inadequate sterilisation procedures within healthcare facilities. These infections, such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) or C. difficile (Clostridium difficile), can lead to severe complications for patients. Despite hospitals’ efforts to maintain cleanliness and uphold strict sterilisation protocols, lapses can occur, creating opportunities for bacteria and viruses to spread. Patients with weakened immune systems or undergoing invasive procedures are particularly vulnerable to these infections. The consequences can range from prolonged hospital stays and additional medical treatments to life-threatening conditions. We have experience with one of our clients, who acquired an infection following the negligent treatment of her ankle injury, which caused her 4 years of pain. This shows that ensuring rigorous infection control measures is essential in safeguarding patient safety and preventing the spread of hospital-acquired infections. 

 

Misdiagnosis 

Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, or failure to diagnose are critical issues in healthcare that can significantly impact patient outcomes. When a healthcare provider inaccurately identifies a condition, delays diagnosis, or fails to diagnose altogether, it can result in improper treatment or even worsen the patient’s condition. For instance, if a patient with cancer is misdiagnosed or experiences a delayed diagnosis, valuable time for effective treatment may be lost, allowing the disease to progress unchecked An example of this is when a former client lost his ear due to a skin cancer misdiagnosis. Similarly, a failure to diagnose a serious condition can lead to a lack of necessary interventions, potentially leading to severe complications or even death. These situations highlight the importance of timely and accurate diagnosis in providing appropriate care and improving patient prognosis. 

 

Inadequate care 

Instances of inadequate care, including neglect, failure to monitor, or premature discharge, can have detrimental effects on patient recovery and overall well-being. Neglect, whether intentional or unintentional, can result in essential needs not being met, leading to physical discomfort, emotional distress, and a decline in health. Failure to adequately monitor patients can result in complications going unnoticed, exacerbating medical conditions, or delaying necessary interventions. Premature discharge, where patients are sent home before they are medically stable, can lead to relapses, readmissions, or even medical emergencies. An example of this was when a former client attended A&E, where, after a brief assessment by a junior doctor, he was negligently discharged home instead of being admitted to the hospital ward for observations, subsequently they were diagnosed with meningitis. These instances underscore the importance of thorough and attentive care throughout the patient’s healthcare journey to ensure optimal recovery and prevent avoidable harm. 

 

Signs that you may have a case for a hospital negligence claim 

Recognising potential indicators of hospital negligence is crucial for patients who suspect they may have experienced substandard care. In our experience key indicators may include unexpected complications arising from treatment, such as infections or surgical errors, which were not explained or anticipated. Worsening symptoms despite medical intervention may also signal underlying issues in the quality of care received. Additionally, experiencing a delayed recovery or prolonged hospital stay without clear justification could point to lapses in treatment or monitoring. These signs serve as red flags for patients to consider seeking further evaluation and potentially pursuing a hospital negligence claim to address any harm suffered due to inadequate care. 

 

Steps to take to make a hospital negligence claim 

When pursuing a hospital negligence claim, patients can take several important steps to ensure their case is well-supported. First, gathering all relevant medical records pertaining to the incident is crucial. This includes documentation of treatments received, test results, and any correspondence with healthcare providers. Next, it’s essential to carefully document the details of the negligence, including dates, times, and specific actions or omissions observed. Taking photographs or keeping records of any physical evidence can also strengthen the case. Finally, seeking legal advice from an expert solicitor who specialises in medical negligence can provide invaluable guidance on navigating the complexities of the legal process. By following these steps, patients can take proactive measures to pursue accountability and seek appropriate compensation for the harm they’ve endured due to hospital negligence. 

 

Legal process for hospital negligence claims 

The process of initiating a hospital negligence claim involves several key steps: 

  

  1. Initial Enquiry: Upon submitting your enquiry, our specialists will ask about your experience and its effects on you, allowing us to gain a comprehensive understanding of your situation.

  

  1. Case Evaluation: Our medical negligence experts will assess your case to determine its viability for a claim. Leveraging our expertise, we offer immediate advice based on our evaluation.

  

  1. Retrieval of Medical Records: If your case meets the necessary criteria, our team will request your medical records from your GP. Furthermore, we will begin gathering evidence to support your claim.

  

  1. Medical and Expert Assessment: An independent report will be commissioned to assess whether there was a breach of duty resulting in your injuries. Additionally, our experts will evaluate the impact of your injuries on your life.

  

  1. Negotiation: We will engage in negotiations with the responsible party to pursue compensation for your expenses, rehabilitation costs, and future damages. Should negotiations prove unsuccessful, the court may intervene to determine appropriate compensation.

  

  1. Compensation: Upon successful negotiation, your compensation will be secured, providing you with the means to move forward from your injuries and towards recovery.

 

How to find a hospital negligence solicitor 

When selecting a hospital negligence solicitor, it’s essential to prioritise expertise and experience in medical malpractice cases. Look for a solicitor who specialises specifically in hospital negligence claims, as they will have a deep understanding of the complexities involved. Consider their track record and success rate in handling similar cases, as this can be indicative of their ability to secure favourable outcomes for clients. Additionally, seek out solicitors who are members of recognised professional organisations or accreditation schemes, as this demonstrates their commitment to upholding high standards of practice. Ultimately, choosing a solicitor with a proven track record and a specialisation in hospital negligence will provide the best chance of achieving a successful resolution for your case. At Fletchers we pride ourselves on providing the best service possible for our clients, which is why we are rated 4.4 out of 5 on Trustpilot. 

 

Typical hospital negligence compensation 

In hospital negligence claims, various types of compensation may be available to address the harm and losses experienced by the affected individuals. This compensation typically includes damages for pain and suffering endured because of the negligence, as well as reimbursement for lost wages due to missed work opportunities or diminished earning capacity. Additionally, ongoing medical expenses, including rehabilitation costs may be covered to facilitate the injured party’s recovery process. However, it’s important to understand that compensation figures can vary significantly depending on the unique circumstances surrounding each claim, such as the severity of the injuries, and the degree of negligence involved. 

 

How Fletchers Solicitors can help you 

In conclusion, Fletchers Solicitors stands as a trusted ally for individuals navigating the complexities of hospital negligence claims. With our wealth of experience and expertise in this field, we are committed to providing unwavering support to our clients throughout every step of the legal process. Our track record speaks for itself, as we have successfully secured fair compensation for numerous clients who have suffered due to hospital negligence. If you believe you have suffered such negligence, we urge you to reach out to us for a consultation. Our dedicated team is here to assess your case, protect your rights, and pursue the justice and compensation you deserve. Your well-being matters to us, and we are ready to stand by your side to help you seek the resolution you need. 

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