Medical negligence – know your rights

in Malpractice

by Jonathan Wallace

Many millions of us are treated each year by a series of health professionals in the NHS and private healthcare, including dentists, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals. Happily for most, treatment is successful and no problems whatsoever are encountered during treatment, but unfortunately that is not always the case.

During the course of diagnosis and treatment we should receive the best possible care. In the majority of cases this happens routinely but when it doesn’t medical or clinical negligence claims can arise as a result of health professionals or organisations failing to deliver an appropriate duty of care to patients.

The fall-out of medical of clinical negligence can be traumatic, not only for the patient but also for their family, who may need to care for them in either the short or long term. Indeed, in the immediate aftermath of a medical accident pursuing a legal claim for negligence may be the last thing that the victim and their family worry about. Providing immediate day-to-day care for loved ones becomes the priority and any thoughts of seeking recourse becomes a secondary concern.

However, once the issue of negligence is broached victims of medical accidents must prove that they have been subject to incompetent care or a lack of judgement on behalf of a healthcare professional to be successful in pursuit of their claim. That is where the problem lies for most as medical negligence claims can be difficult to prove, certainly without the help of specialist legal help.

Healthcare professionals are only human, and therefore can make occasional errors especially when they are in pressured situations such as in emergency and accident departments, or when undertaking surgical procedures. The difference between making mistakes and negligence can be a fine line, but if as a result of a routine medical procedure a loved one unexpectedly dies or suffers severe permanent damage then that the family of that patient deserves at least a thorough investigation into their demise.

If as a result of that investigation an error of judgement is determined to be the cause of the death or permanent disability, then the family should be free to pursue financial recompense through the courts, or via an out-of-court settlement.

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