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Medical Negligence

What Is Medical Negligence?

What Is Medical Negligence?

If you have suffered an injury after a visit to hospital, or something was not picked up at hospital that should have been, what are your options? What is medical negligence and what can you do if it has happened to you?

When Does Poor Treatment Amount To Medical Negligence?

Medical negligence is the term used to describe negligent treatment of a patient by a healthcare professional or facility that results in injury or deterioration in condition. Any medical professional, including doctors, nurses, dentists and those responsible for a patient's psychological well-being, can be held liable for medical negligence. Negligence occurs when medical professionals fail to meet the legal standard of care. This is often the result of either:

  • Taking irresponsible or mistaken actions
  • Failing to take action at all
  • A lack of skill
  • A lack of care

You cannot claim medical negligence if you are simply unhappy with the result of your treatment – for example, your condition could be not cured. Actual harm must have been caused to the patient which would not have been suffered had the medical professional not acted negligently.

How do you prove medical negligence?

For a successful medical negligence claim, the following elements must be proved:

  1. A duty of care was owed by the physician – this is an easy factor to prove, as once a doctor agrees to treat a patient, he or she is responsible for the care of that patient.
  2. The physician violated the applicable standard of care – it must be deemed that the medical professional or facility in question has breached the duty of care and “fallen below the standard of a responsible body of medical men.”
  3. The person suffered a compensatable injury – this can be a suffering of either physical or emotional effects or both.
  4. The injury was caused by the substandard conduct – the negative effects suffered by the patient must be specifically as a result of medical negligence. This factor is much more difficult to prove, as it could be argued the patient's symptoms would have occurred despite the alleged medical negligence.

What can you do?

If you believe that you have been the victim of medical negligence you can do one of two things:

  • Make a complaint to the hospital or other medical organisation that treated you; or
  • Ask a medical negligence solicitor to look into the matter for you.

Either option is available to you. However, it is always best to make contact with a solicitor at the outset as they will be able to advise you of any time limits in relation to the complaints procedure, or other time limits that may prevent you from claiming if you do not take action quickly enough.

Summary

Medical negligence can lead to serious ongoing pain and suffering. It is important that you understand your rights so that you can make a decision about what, if any, action you can take to repair some of the damage.

Can We Help You With A Medical Negligence Enquiry?

Early legal assistance can be vital so please contact us if you would like to discuss your situation. Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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Testimonials

"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

"I would like to say a big thank you to you for making this whole process easy and relatively painless. You kept me informed throughout and you were always polite and courteous in all forms of communication. I would not hesitate to recommend you to friends and family, so a really big thank you and I wish you all the best in the future."

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