GPs claim medical negligence lawsuits are bringing service to its knees

The increasing costs of medical negligence lawsuits are having direct and devastating consequences on Britain’s General Practitioner service, according to a new survey. The government says that it needs to recruit 5,000 new GPs by 2020 to cope with demand of the increasing workload, but this year has seen the number of GPs falling by 100 per month. Whereas doctors in hospitals have their insurance premiums paid by the hospital or hospital trust for which they work, in the case of GPs the responsibility lies on them to pay their own premiums and some say that they are now paying up to a fifth of their pre-tax income on insurance. According to the BMA (British Medical Association) GP’s pay has reduced by 11 per cent in real terms since 2008. At the same time the annual rise of insurance premiums has averaged 10 per cent, and it continues to rise as the costs of medical negligence cases increase. So is it right to sue the NHS? The vast majority of doctors, nurses and health professionals in the UK are highly qualified, caring people who want to help others in the best way that they can. Many work in high-pressure situations and make the difference between life and death on a daily basis. It is incredibly rare that incidents happen due to malice or general incompetence, but if mistakes are made in someone’s care, and those mistakes go on to leave the patient in a worse state than when they arrived to receive care, then someone has to be responsible. In some cases it might be an issue with machinery...

Maternity blunders push NHS negligence payouts to £1billion

Last year the National Health Service paid out more than £1billion in damages for medical negligence. This was a record high amount and was in part fuelled by blunders during childbirth that have soared in recent years. Patient groups said that the figures illustrate the desperate need for improved safety within hospitals. The amount paid out by the NHS for medical and clinical negligence cases has almost doubled since 2010, with a large proportion of the costs going to pay solicitors’ fees. Chief Executive of the charity Action against Medical Accidents; Peter Walsh, said the NHS was spending far too much on litigation because it was failing to improve its own safety record, and spending too much fighting cases that it should not defend. “Most of these costs would be avoided if the NHS investigated incidents better, recognised when they were at fault, and settled claims earlier.” Many of the most expensive claims involved babies who were left brain-damaged at birth for whom the payouts involve the costs of care for the rest of their life. In some cases when things go wrong, a simple apology can resolve the situation. In other more serious cases, doctors and other medical professionals who fail in their duty of care can be disciplined, or even struck off from performing their duties. It is when mistakes are made and serious injuries or life-changing events occur that you might feel the need to take the compensation route, and that is when you need a team of experienced medical negligence solicitors to help you get the compensation you deserve; not only due to the intricate...

The Surgeon with the God complex

In a high profile news story this week, a surgeon who allegedly carried out completely unnecessary operations has been convicted of intentionally wounding patients. Ian Paterson, 59, from Altrincham in Greater Manchester has been granted bail and is due to be sentenced late this month. During the 7-week hearing some of the surgeon’s victims gave statements about how Paterson misled them into thinking that they had serious medical issues and carried out operations for conditions that in many cases the patients were not even suffering from. One female victim who underwent surgery by Paterson six times in seven years said that he “…tried every trick in the book to avoid accountability for his disgusting crimes. Mr Paterson charmed and manipulated his patients into trusting him. I for one trusted him with my life.” The victim had been told by Paterson that she had breast cancer and went through extensive surgery to remove the cancer, then a full mastectomy to remove the breast. It was later found that she had not been suffering from breast cancer at all and that he had made up the results so as to continue performing dangerous and unnecessary surgery. As well as working privately at the Little Aston and Parkway Hospitals in the West Midlands, Paterson carried out hundreds of unnecessary operations on NHS patients, costing one NHS Trust around £17.8 million in damages and legal costs. Sometimes even good doctors make mistakes, sometimes crucial pieces of machinery can fail, and sometimes a simple error of judgement on the part of someone treating you can cause significant pain and damage. Fortunately it is very...

7 Year fight for medical negligence compensation finally over for widower

The widower of a woman who died from a blood clot just 16 days after the birth of her daughter has won a medical negligence case and undisclosed compensation from the Leicester Hospital where she died. Darren Taylor of Braunstone, near Leicester had to fight for seven years before the hospital admitted that mistakes had been made in his wife’s treatment. She died from a pulmonary embolism that was caused by a deep vein thrombosis (also known as DVT) in one of her legs that was due to pregnancy. When Mrs Taylor was found collapsed in the bathroom of their family home in March 2010, she was rushed to Leicester Royal Infirmary, but the doctor who saw her did not follow the hospital’s guideline on investigating suspected DVT on the basis that at that time, ultra-sound scans were not carried out at weekends. It is believed that if a scan had taken place, the DVT would have been noticed and appropriate action could have been taken to avoid the development of the pulmonary embolism, and hence save her life. In addition to the pain caused by the death of his wife, the situation was made even more insufferable by the NHS Trust’s insistence of its innocence of any negligence regarding the death. Speaking after the case, Mr Taylor said: “I am relieved that this is all over. It has been a long, hard seven years, but I am happy we have got the NHS to own up and the Trust says that lessons have been learnt.” If you or someone you care for has suffered as a result of...

77-Year-old woman dies after choking on doughnut in hospital

A 77-year-old lady from Leicester died after choking on a doughnut that she was given while staying in hospital. The lady had been admitted to the Evington Centre’s Mental Health ward at Leicester General Hospital, run by the Leicestershire Partnership Trust, in June last year. She had undergone a behaviour assessment – which included looking into her eating habits – and was placed on a “soft food” diet to avoid any potentially dangerous incidents. However, contrary to this she was given foods such as toast and pizza by staff who were supposedly caring for her. When she began to eat a doughnut on the 25th July while left on her own, she began to choke. By the time the emergency team arrived the lady had suffered a massive heart attack from which she suffered significant brain damage, and she died less than one week later. A spokesman for the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust said: “We are sorry this tragic incident occurred while the lady was in our care and accept there is more we could have done to prevent this incident from occurring”. He added: “We carried out our own investigation into the incident, which we have shared with the deceased’s family and the coroner. We developed a detailed action plan following our investigation, which includes a number of different steps to reduce the likelihood of a similar incident in the future.” If you or someone you care for has suffered while under the care of a hospital or any medical facility, you could well be entitled to make a claim for compensation. While we all understand that it...

£675,000 pay-out for brain injury misdiagnosis

A man who was repeatedly sent home by doctors while suffering from a brain injury has been awarded a massive £675,000 in compensation. Alex Rea from Shefford was sent home on eight separate occasions after visiting his doctor’s surgery complaining of headaches and sickness. In addition he was discharged twice from the Accident and Emergency department of Lister Hospital in Stevenage with doctors claiming that his symptoms were nothing more than concussion and a possible ear infection. It was only when he visited an out-of-hours surgery that the injury was picked up and he was immediately sent to Bedford Hospital for a CT scan. There they discovered that he was suffering from bleeding on the brain and on the following day he attended Addenbrookes Hospital where a hole was drilled into his skull and a blood-clot was removed. Mr Rea is now registered as partially sighted and has struggled to find employment since the injury, leading to periods of homelessness. He made a claim for compensation from the GPs involved along with the East and North Herts NHS Trust and won. Negligence was admitted on the part of the GP practice, as well as Lister Hospital. Have you suffered from misdiagnosis? As human beings we are prone to make occasional mistakes; none of us are perfect and sometimes even doctors can miss an opportunity to make a clear diagnosis. However this case highlights what can go wrong when doctors and medical professionals simply fail to notice what is apparent in front of them. If you or someone you care for has been put at risk by a failure to...