May 02, 2022

NHS Resolution Claims Report on Death & Severe Injury due to Medical Negligence

The NHS Resolution, has published its report into medical negligence claims at emergency department (ED or A&E) arising from patients’ deaths and life-changing injuries. The report named ‘High value and fatality related claims’ is one of the three thematic reviews into compensation claims brought by patients who suffered injuries as a result of negligent NHS emergency care in England between 2014 and 2018.

The combined cost of 86 settled fatal injury claims was £5.8 million, with an average compensation payout to the patient’s family of just over £45,000. Causes of patient deaths include; misdiagnosis of infection or sepsis, pulmonary embolism (PE), falls in hospital, medication errors, cardiovascular heart conditions and failure to prevent venous thromboembolism (VTE).

On the other hand, the 16 ‘high value’ claims had a combined cost of £33 million meaning that average payouts to individuals was just over £2 million. Negligent actions like missed diagnosis and failure to investigate showed up in all ‘high value’ claims, especially those relating to spinal cord injury (SCI) and brain injury.

Emergency Medicine And Negligent A&E Or ED Care

In the past 10years running, emergency medicine has had either the highest or second highest number of new claim notifications to NHS Resolution. In 2020/21 ED claims accounted for 11% (1,151) of all medical negligence claims reported to NHS Resolution with an estimated cost (in compensation and legal fees) just shy of £322 million. There has been a 17% rise in A&E attendances and a 23% rise in A&E claims between 2010/11 and 2019/20. The NHS Resolution also reports that claims arising from NHS emergency care are still low when compared with A&E attendance rates, at one claim for every 17,000 episodes of ED care.

Common themes that were associated with causing high levels of harm to patients from negligent emergency care included:
  • Failings in the investigations process, leading to missed or delayed diagnosis;
  • Failure in recognising and responding to patients who were deteriorating or who re-attended hospital;
  • An overarching issue with providing patients with timely, proper review by senior clinicians.
Spinal Cord Injury

Some of the patient’s conditions included traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI), tumours, haematoma, abscesses and cauda equina. The NHS Resolution discovered that although almost all these patients had earlier been seen by their GP or hospital on more than one occasion, there was little evidence that a senior clinician reviewed them when they visited the hospital for the second, third or fourth time with the same problem.

Brain Injury

Carotid artery dissection, haemorrhage and meningitis were some of the conditions responsible for brain injuries suffered by patients. It was discovered that none of the patients had a typical history but taking accurate history of the patients from all available sources should have prevented misdiagnosis.

Furthermore, the NHS Resolution found out that ambulance and triage notes and GP letters accompanying patients were not available or read by the doctors who attended to them, their conditions were misdiagnosed and there was long waits for review from a more senior doctor even after diagnosis which led to delays in scanning and interpretation of results.

Medication Errors

Medication errors such as giving a medication intended for another patient as well as giving excessive doses of morphine led to death of some patients. Also, patients died as a result of being given drugs they were allergic to or failing to give them their regular prescription drugs as well as failing in managing their condition when it deteriorated.

Need Help With Medical Negligence Arising From Medication Errors, Or Resulting To Spinal Cord Injury And Birth Injuries?

At NHS Negligence Claim, our solicitors are committed to seeing that patients who have suffered as a result of medical negligence or loved ones of persons who died due to negligent treatment are able to get injury compensation as well as compensation for wrongful death.

This offers them a chance to rebuild their lives and improve their quality of life going forward without having to suffer financially as a result of the loss of a breadwinner or inability to return to work due to the injury. The compensation also helps them to secure the medical care they need, therapies as well as purchase any special equipment and make needed adjustments to their homes to suit their disability.

Our solicitors are experts in NHS claims including claims for medication errors, brain injury claims, spinal cord injury claims and other forms of medical negligence claims. Feel free to talk to us via our helplines. Our consultation sessions are for free while we take care of these claims for our patients on a No Win No Fee basis.

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