What is Clinical Negligence?

Doctor on a tablet in hospital

Clinical Negligence refers to any claims made when you have suffered due to the negligence of a medical or healthcare professional. There are many injuries that can be included in these types of claims, but what exactly is clinical negligence and how can I claim compensation?

Clinical negligence is a phrase which often strikes fear into the hearts of both parties affected. The unwitting victim, for obvious reasons, as they’ve been directly affected physically and/or psychological due to no fault of their own.

How Can Clinical Negligence Best Be Explained?

Clinical negligence is the phrase used to describe the consequence of receiving inadequate medical treatment in a number of clinical situations and medical environments. The treatments we’re referring to include anything from GP or surgical mistakes to misdiagnosis and cosmetic surgery injuries. The environments most likely to witness episodes of clinical negligence include hospitals, clinics, GP and dental surgeries.

However other scenarios can also be considered when discussing the potential for clinical negligence. Like for example, patient’s homes. The High Court recently delivered a judgement which could impact on health visitors who we allow into our homes; or those of people close to us whose care-provision we arrange and are responsible for.

For the most part healthcare professionals give us good reason to put our trust in their skilled hands. However, occasionally unforeseen problems can arise, and patients can be subjected to what’s later confirmed as a case of clinical negligence.

No two cases of clinical negligence are ever the same, given the complexities of medical procedures. When even the seemingly smallest mistake by a healthcare professional can lead to life-altering complications.

What Types of Injuries Constitute Clinical Negligence?

The primary types of clinical negligence can be grouped into 5 core areas. Counts of clinical negligence will typically fall into one of the following categories; misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, surgical error, unnecessary surgery and negligent long-term treatment.

Within these particular groups there are subsets which they can be divided into still further. Beneath we provide a selection of some of these to afford you a better overview of the type of scenarios which appear under the broader umbrella of clinical negligence.

Misdiagnosis

The correct diagnosis of injuries is crucial. Misdiagnosis can often lead to a much worse situation further down the line, or even unnecessary treatment or surgery. Sadly, errors in diagnosis do occur, especially in cases where symptoms are arguably misleading at the outset. More common examples of misdiagnosis include the misdiagnosis of the symptoms of an impending heart attack or stroke, and failure to correctly diagnose life-changing conditions such as meningitis, diabetes or cancer.

Delayed Diagnosis

Clinical negligence is cited if and when a delayed diagnosis is found to be complicit in a patient’s adverse health condition progressing, due to failure to comprehend the stage it was at when examined by a healthcare professional. Which in turn would delay access to treatments which could improve a victim’s quality of life. Instances of delayed diagnosis include the untimely diagnosis of strokes, heart attacks, cancer and internal traumas.

Surgical Error

Surgical procedures can sometimes lead to complications that necessitate further surgery, infection, internal organ damage and compromising of the immune system. Accounts of surgical error might include wrong site surgery, unintentional lacerations of an internal organ, perforation of an organ, a foreign object left in a patient’s body and uncontrolled blood loss.

If you have ever read Adam Kay’s book ‘This is Going To Hurt’, you’ll know that surgeons now use markings to ensure that operations take place on the correct limb…

Unnecessary Surgery

On some occasions, a patient’s condition shouldn’t lead to the invasive procedures which are performed and can often happen on the back of a misdiagnosis of patient symptoms. These could be anything from a pacemaker implant or coronary bypass surgery to a hysterectomy or the needless administration of anaesthesia.

Negligent Long-term Treatment

This refers to a type of clinical negligence which manifests over a more sustained passage of time and often more subtly. Follow-up treatment failures and lack of appropriate monitoring of the longer-term effects of treatment also conspire to create this type of negligence.

What’s next?

If you feel that you’ve been the victim of clinical negligence, then you’re entitled by law to pursue a claim against the individual or organisation who you believe is responsible. claiming compensation for negligence, will enable you to fund any adaptations to your life, payment for treatment or loss of earnings you have suffered.

Here at DIYPI our team are well versed in reaching out to help those who have suffered from clinical negligence. In fact, we empower you to do it yourself, with a little bit of help from us. Get in touch today.

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