Different types of medical negligence
Doctors and other medical professionals have a duty to their patients to provide treatment that is in line with the “accepted medical standard of care”. This is usually defined as the level and type of care that a reasonably competent and skilled health care professional, with a similar background and in the same medical community, would have provided under the circumstances.
When a healthcare professional fails to comply with these standards and it results in loss or damage to the patient, a medical negligence claim can be raised.
Here are some examples of what is considered to be medical negligence:
Administering incorrect medication can have lasting or even fatal consequences to someone already ill. Similarly, receiving wrong or unnecessary surgery can cause significantly more harm than good.
Misdiagnosis or late diagnosis
Not listening to a patient or undertaking insufficient testing can lead to misdiagnosis and therefore to mistreatment. Not only does this mean the patient is receiving unnecessary treatment, it can mean the correct treatment is administered too late and lead to needless suffering or a worsened condition.
There is a level of risk attached to most surgery. However some issues that arise, such as infection due to unsterilised tools, nerve damage or unnecessary surgery errors (e.g. organ removal, excessive scarring or amputation) can be considered negligent.
Neglect due to low or insufficient staff levels
Many hospitals are currently under financial pressure and may reduce staffing levels to alleviate this. This can lead to delayed diagnosis or a below expected standard of care. If an illness worsens due to lack of care, a medical negligence claim can be raised.
Lack of information for the patient
If a doctor doesn’t inform the patient appropriately of their disease or the available treatment options, leading to a negative impact on the patient’s choice of treatment, a medical negligence claim could be raised.
Mistakes relating to dental treatment can be both painful and traumatic. Issues relating to nerve injury, cosmetic dentistry problems or oral cancer misdiagnosis can all be considered as medical negligence if procedures have not been undertaken or followed correctly.
If you, or anyone in your family has suffered from medical negligence and would like to know more about what you can do to put things right, please contact our medical negligence team on 01752 203500 or use our online contact form.
Matthew Sheather, partner and medical negligence solicitor