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The devastating impact of medical negligence on patients and their families

The devastating impact of medical negligence on patients and their families
Medical negligence is devastating for victims and their families. People turn to medical care providers like the NHS because they need help. They assume that they will be taken care of and treated with care and respect.
Most of the time, the right level of care is provided and the patient recovers. However, sometimes things can and do go wrong.
Most medical negligence cases don’t go to court. The responsible parties, whether it is an NHS Trust or a private practitioner’s insurance company, often prefer to settle out of court to keep costs down. Some cases of medical negligence, however, are too complex or serious to avoid being taken to court.

Physical harm

Medical negligence cases apply to any patient who has suffered physical harm because of a poor decision, incorrect advice, or some other mistake. Darnley v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust 2018 is a good example of a case where the patient suffered irreparable damage.
The patient attended his local A&E with a head injury. The receptionist on duty failed to give him the correct information and he was told to expect a 4-5 hour wait. As such, he went home shortly after. Because he wasn’t triaged on arrival, he didn’t receive appropriate treatment and his head injury worsened. He later returned to the same hospital in an ambulance and was diagnosed with a permanent brain injury.

Emotional harm

It isn’t just physical harm that can cause devastating long-term problems. A very famous case involved a transplant surgeon working at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. When a patient’s liver transplant failed and she was brought back in for a second operation, surgeons discovered her original surgeon had branded his initials on the first organ. The patient suffered a serious psychological reaction when she was told several months later and the case caused widespread condemnation.

Long-term loss of income

Another issue raised by medical negligence cases is the long-term financial burden imposed on the victim. Many people affected by medical negligence cases suffer financial loss. This can include a complete loss of income as well as the additional costs of providing extra medical care for someone suffering from long-term health complications.
Mr Darnley from the first case mentioned above suffered a life-changing injury and would not have been able to work following the injury. This is common in many cases where the claimant can no longer work as a result of what has happened, or in the case of a child, that child needs life-long medical care, which the family cannot afford to pay for.

Fighting for justice

Whether you are seeking a financial settlement to help pay for the extra costs you will now incur or your main motivation is to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to anyone else, there are ways to fight for justice. Medical negligence solicitors Belfast help people take their cases to court and win.
While everyone makes mistakes, it isn’t OK for hospital trusts and private medical practitioners to get away with ruining people’s lives.
Banner image credit:  Photo by Piron Guillaume on Unsplash

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