How to Spot Medical Negligence
Doctors and nurses are, by way of their profession, paid to give the utmost in excellent medical care and bedside manner, and for the most part, that is what they do. But sometimes, things may go wrong, as they might in all aspects of life.
Normally though, you make a mistake, you get over it, you forget it. But if someone you have trusted to care for you and make you well again has made a mistake that affects you, it can be harder to recover from that.
If you are a patient, and your medical care giver has failed in his or her duty of care towards you, this is known as clinical negligence (or medical malpractice, or a combination of the two).
Essentially, it occurs simply when something goes wrong, whether that’s on the operating table or while you wait in A&E. It can be through a lack of care, a false diagnosis or even an unlucky accident; medical negligence comes in many forms.
It doesn’t necessarily matter what form it comes in – if you, or even a friend or relative, are made the victim of medical negligence, it is natural to feel upset or angry, and it’s normal to be left wanting an explanation or an apology at the very least.
Some people may also feel as though they are entitled to compensation, and they very well might be. However, it is notoriously difficult to win in court against the medical profession as a whole, as they have a tendency to be very costly in terms of both money and time. So what should you do?
What Should I Do?
If you or someone you care about has just experienced medical negligence, you will be emotionally involved – the first thing you need to do is take a step away from the case, and calm down a bit. Of course you might find this difficult, but it is important to look at the case with a cool, analytical eye.
With a clear mind, analyse the case: if you can prove that the medical professional was at fault and show that the malpractice had a serious, long-term negative effect on your health, then you probably have a pretty solid case, if to court is where you want to take it.
If you would be happy with a simple apology or explanation, try getting in touch with the hospital or surgery and ask to speak to the person(s) involved face to face. Often, the professional responsible will want to give an apology as much as you want to receive one, but if not, you should talk to the Patient Advice and Liaison Service for advice.
Going to Court
If compensation is what you’re after, you’ll have to go to court. Most will offer a free initial consultation, so you can go along to find out the chances of success at no cost to you. For information on how this works, visit www.lawyers4patients.co.uk.
Court cases involving the medical profession are often massively costly, so the lawyers will only take your case if they are convinced that a victory is possible. If you are sure you want to take your claim to court, make sure you can afford to invest the time.