Hansells Jane Stockings talks about Clinical Negligence

Whilst I think we are extremely fortunate to live in a country which provides NHS care to all and the vast majority of people working within the system strive to provide excellent medical care unfortunately errors are made and sometimes these mistakes can have tragic outcomes.

I am a solicitor and partner at Hansells and I deal with clinical negligence work and am on the Law Society Panel for specialist Clinical negligence lawyers. I have been involved in these types of cases for over 20 years and during this time have heard some terribly sad stories.

Well there are various types of cases, most obviously perhaps are claims against hospitals which covers all sorts of problems – claims for operations that have been conducted without due care, a failure to diagnose a problem, sometimes with relatively minor consequences but sadly sometimes with catastrophic effects or death.  A mix up of results in the laboratory leading to an incorrect diagnosis, a failure in communication.  Often due to resource limitations and inadequate staffing levels people can be left to deteriorate without nursing staff carrying out the necessary checks.  Discharging patients too soon can also lead to severe consequences.  Sometimes waiting times are so long patients waiting in Accident and Emergency departments can become frustrated and leave without being seen and suffer severe problems. Sadly babies are sometimes born in distress and left too long before delivery leading to a lack of Oxygen and brain damage with lifelong care needs.

Claims against GPs are also relatively common and these usually fall into the category of a  failure to diagnose a serious problem, a failure to refer to more specialist practitioner or a failure to order tests which may have diagnosed an underlying problem.

As we know all too well from the news our mental health services are also unable to cope with the demands placed upon them and vulnerable people are being let down and left without the support they so desperately need.

There is a perception of a “compensation culture” but so many people when asked what motivates them to bring a claim will say they desperately wish to prevent a similar set of circumstances and do not want anyone else to go through what they have been through.  People are traumatised by what has happened to them or from watching a loved one go through a terrible time.

A solicitor can be so helpful in assisting at all stages, whether it is with advice about making a complaint, assistance in connection with an inquest,  in reviewing the medical records, highlighting issues and seeking redress by way of an apology and where appropriate financial compensation.

If you feel that I can offer any assistance please do not hesitate to get in touch.