You see it time and time again patients receiving poor standards of medical treatment whether via their GP or during a visit to hospital. A prime example was the recent story at Stafford Hospital where many patients were let down. But, one of the questions many of clients have is when does it amount to medical negligence?
To get your head around this you need to know what medical negligence is. (Or clinical negligence as sometimes know)
It is when a doctor breaches their duty of care and this causes him/her to suffer injury, either physically or emotionally.
All doctors have a duty of care towards their patients which means they must provide a level of care that would be considered reasonable by other medical professionals.
If a doctor fails to do this there has been a breach of duty. If this results in the patient suffering harm (which, on the balance of probability, would not have occurred otherwise), there will be a case of medical negligence.
To take an example, if someone asks for help of suspected cancer but a doctor fails to notice or recognise the symptoms or who may interpret the test results wrongly, this will be deemed as a breach of duty. The failure of diagnosis causes someone prolonged pain and could alter their future prognosis. The doctor’s incompetence will have caused that person to suffer injury and one which could have been avoided if a timely diagnosis was given.
There are many different forms of medical negligence involving doctors (or hospitals), with some of the most commons ones:-
- Failure to refer to Hospital/For further investigation
- Failure to diagnose;
- Wrong diagnosis;
- Surgical errors;
- Prescription errors;
- Wrong treatment.
If you suspect that you or your loved one has been the victim of medical negligence, the first thing to do is contact a solicitor that specialises in this area of the law. As per the information above you will realised Medical negligence is a complicated subject and it is not always obvious as to whether a doctor has acted negligently.
If there has been an incident of medical negligence, you may be able to pursue a compensation claim for the pain, suffering and financial damage this has caused. You need to make a claim usually within three years however, different time limits can apply, so the safest thing to do is to seek immediate legal help, as this will ensure you do not lose the compensation to which you are rightfully entitled.
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