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November 25, 2021

What's medical negligence delay in treatment?

Are you a victim of medical negligence delay in treatment? Have you suffered as a result of late diagnosis or misdiagnosis? Start a claim today

Medical negligence - This unethical act has become increasingly common amongst medical practitioners today. Otherwise known as medical malpractice, medical negligence takes different forms such as misdiagnosis (as in the case of nhs misdiagnosis), prescription errors, surgical mistakes, to name a few.

When it comes to healthcare, time is one of the most valuable assets in identifying and diagnosing illnesses. If a condition is diagnosed in time, with the present advancement in medicine, patients now stand much more of a chance of making a full recovery or living their lives relatively pain free.

Victims of medical negligence and their loved ones may be entitled to a medical negligence claim compensation. The compensation amount will depend on the nature and severity of the injury suffered, the impact on wellbeing, future prognosis, and the level of financial damage. In this article, we will discuss the medical negligence claims process, the role you can play, and how medical negligence solicitors can help you lodge a successful claim.

Where does a delay in medical diagnosis Happen?

Most cases of delayed diagnosis take place in A&E departments. When the accident & emergency unit becomes busy, it becomes a herculean task for doctors to keep up with the overwhelming number of patients and as a result some cases may be slightly overlooked and under-managed.

Because human error is common, doctors have been known to discharge patients from hospitals with serious illnesses, infections and broken bones. A&E is where some of the most critical cases receive urgent medical attention. Hence, if there is a setback in treating a supposed patient whose condition could worsen rapidly, the doctors or nurses could be deemed negligent for not honouring the oath they swore to care for patients.

Further illustrative scenarios of where a delay in diagnosis can take place are surgery and birth injuries. For instance, if a mother was due to give birth but needed an emergency C-section and this wasn’t deemed apparent by the medical staff on call in a timely manner, this could be identified as a delay in response/ prognosis - which is considered negligence.

What can cause negligent delays in diagnosis?

Delays can happen at various stages from first attending to your GP, to receiving treatment from a consultant. Some of the more common scenarios of negligent delays include:

  • Not observing patient's symptoms closely
  • Negligent treatment of patient - not taking patient seriously
  • Failure to carefully analyze test result
  • Failure to refer patient to a specialist when necessary
  • Failing to admit patients for close observation
  • Wrong prioritising of the patient, putting them on a waiting list

What can happen as a result of a delayed diagnosis?

Although in most instances delays don’t have serious consequences, there are instances where a delayed diagnosis can be catastrophic. Our medical negligence solicitors are experts in dealing with medical negligence cases involving a delayed diagnosis, including but not limited to:

  • Cancer claims
  • Ruptured abdominal aortic aneurysm claims
  • Sepsis claims

Conditions and illnesses that are often misdiagnosed includes

  • Acute Intermittent Porphyria
  • Appendicitis
  • Cancer misdiagnosis including breast cancer , bowel cancer , cervical cancer ,lung cancer and eye tumours
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome (CES)
  • Heart disease (coronary artery disease)
  • Internal trauma such as internal bleeding or organ/blood vessel damage
  • Pulmonary embolism caused by deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Meningitis
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes

However, generally, medical misdiagnosis is broadly classified under two main categories. As a victim, you may be entitled to claim for:

Incorrect or missed diagnosis: When a medical professional fails to identify and diagnose symptoms of an illness or health condition. Without the proper treatment, the illness or condition may worsen and severely affect the patient’s life or even result in death.

Late diagnosis: also known as delayed diagnosis: when a patient’s condition is initially missed by a medical professional, only diagnosing the condition or illness at a more advanced stage. Again, this can prolong the recovery period or reduce the patient’s life expectancy in more serious cases.

Elements of Medical Negligence

Before a medical negligence claim can be established, the patient must show that his or her healthcare professionals acted negligently in rendering care, and that such negligence resulted in injury or a worsened condition. This would mean proving that:

  • A professional duty was owed to the patient
  • A breach of duty of care existed
  • Injury suffered was as a result of the breach
  • The resulting damages (including financial losses) are associated with the breach

Medical doctors, nurses and support medical staff work tirelessly every time. Hence they might get overwhelmed, tired and sloppy due to the workload and continuous influx of patients. In other cases, some hospitals are short staffed and this can result in improper care rendered to patients. Yet, medical negligence shouldn't be entertained especially in respect to delayed treatment.

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic for example, almost all routine or elective surgery was stopped, many outpatient appointments and referrals were delayed. This is absurd and goes below the oath swore during the induction into the medical profession.

How to Make a Claim?

The first step is for you to get in touch with our team as soon as you can. At NHSNegligenceClaim, we work with a panel of specialist NHS negligence solicitors who will take up your case from this point. We offer a free, no obligation initial consultation to discuss what happened and if there are legitimate grounds for a claim.

How to Prove a Medical Negligence Claim

In order to make a successful claim, you must provide evidence to show that medical negligence took place. The evidence needed to prove a medical negligence claim includes:

  • A statement from you (or the victim of medical negligence) detailing how the incident occurred, and the impact it has had on you
  • Your past medical records, which can be used to uncover key information regarding how the negligent treatment caused you harm
  • Pictures or video footage showing the injury suffered, and potentially any external factors that led to the injury
  • Witness statements if any third party can provide relevant information relating to the case
  • Test and scan results (where applicable) to show diagnosis

We can make arrangements for you to be examined by an independent medical expert. This is important as we need to show that the quality of treatment you received was below the acceptable standard of care. The outcome of this examination can be used to build a robust medical negligence claim on your behalf.

How Much Can I Claim for Medical Negligence?

“How much could my medical negligence claim be worth?”; this is one of the first questions many claimants want an answer to. While it does not have a specific answer, it is a very important question to ask. You need to know whether pursuing a claim is the right course of action for you.

As every medical negligence claim is unique, it can be difficult to determine the exact amount you can expect in compensation. If you’d like to have an idea of what your claim is worth, you can contact us today. Our medical negligence solicitors will thoroughly evaluate your case and will use a medical negligence compensation calculator to give you an estimated value of your claim.

Medical negligence can leave cicts with many debilitating consequences. Some have had to suffer life altering permanent injuries and others have lost their lives. If you are a victim of negligence, you are within your right to make a claim and we can help you get started today.

Steps to Take in Suing the NHS

If NHS care goes wrong, you are entitled to a claim for medical negligence. However, before starting the claim, you may consider making a complaint to the medical professional or hospital responsible for your care.In some cases, you may be able to resolve the issue this way.

However, where a resolution is not possible via this means and you need to lodge a formal complaint, you have 12 months from the date of the incident to do so. The defendant in your case will have to respond with a letter acknowledging your complaint, and let you know when you can expect to receive a comprehensive reply.

While the NHS complaint procedure does not end up in a claim, the response you receive from your complaint can help you better understand what happened, if you can make a claim, as well as ensure the hospital does not repeat the same actions that led to your complaint.

Will I Need to Go to Court?

The vast majority of medical negligence cases are resolved before they go to trial. In most cases, your solicitor will be able to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf without taking the case to court. However, if your case is complex and goes to court, you can rest assured we will help you through the process. Going to court is also not the end of the world; in fact, many claimants have found the court atmosphere to be much more relaxed than they imagined.

Medical Negligence Claims Time Limit

According to the medical negligence UK law, you must begin your claim for medical negligence within three years from the date of the incident or the date you became aware that your injury was a result of medical negligence. If the medical negligence victim is dead, this time limit begins from the date of the date. However, there are exceptions to this rule:

If the victim is a child, he or she will be allowed until their 21st birthday to make a claim; If the victim lacks mental capacity, there is no time limit.

How Long Do Medical Negligence Cases Take to Settle?

It is difficult to provide a definite answer to this question without knowing the details of the case, but the average medical negligence claim can be resolved within 12 to 18 months. The panel of solicitors we work with try to resolve claims as quickly as possible while working hard to ensure you get the maximum compensation you deserve. The amount of time it takes will depend on the uniqueness of your case.

Our solicitors can provide you with the necessary legal advice and support you need if you have been a victim of medical negligence delay in treatment. Contact us today for a free no obligation assessment of your claim.

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