Types of Clinical Negligence Claims

Every clinical negligence case is diverse and complex in its own right. Here at Mark Reynolds Solicitors we have the expertise to deal with such cases.

Caesarean Section
For various reasons decisions are taken to deliver a baby via caesarean section. A caesarean section is a major operation, and as with any surgical procedure there are inherent risks such as damage to nearby organs.

However, negligence can occur when there is a failure to recognise such damage has occurred and or for appropriate medical professionals to be called to undertake the necessary repairs.

If issues such as this occurred during your caesarean section then you may be entitled to claim compensation for medical negligence.

Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy is a physical condition that affects movement as a result of injury to the brain. There are varying degrees of Cerebral Palsy some suffers only have a mild disability which is barely noticeable to very serious disabilities meaning the patient requires 24 hour care for the rest of their life.

Some of the problems that Cerebral Palsy can cause for suffers include difficulty with the control and use of their muscles which can impact on their ability to walk, write, eating, talk, etc. Problems often occur with balance and coordination, posture, hearing, learning and epilepsy.

Cerebral palsy can be caused by problems during the gestation and birth of a baby; however the cause of Cerebral Palsy for some people remains unclear. Cerebral Palsy can be due to medical negligence when there has been a lack of oxygen to the baby during the delivery.

If you have concerns that your birth of your child was mismanaged contact us to discuss whether you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Clinical Negligence After Birth

Once your baby has been safely delivered there is often a sigh of relief that everything has gone well.

However, for some people they find that months after their child has been born, that they have a condition which was not diagnosed immediately.

Clinical Negligence during Hysterectomy Operations

Hysterectomy procedures are much simpler and safer today than years ago. However, it is still a major operation and as such there are inherent risks when undergoing this procedure. A known complication which can occur during a hysterectomy is injury to the bladder and bowel. Before agreeing to undergo such an operation you should be made aware of the known risks of the procedure. In most cases, it is not negligent to accidentally make a hole in the bladder or the bowel, especially when there is scar tissue from previous abdominal surgery. If the injury is recognised and it is repaired appropriately it is unlikely that you will be able to bring a claim. However, where an injury has occurred

As long as the surgeon recognises that a hole has been made and stitches it up carefully, there is little prospect of bringing a successful claim.

The successful claims occur when there is a failure to recognise that the damage has occurred to the bladder or bowel. If a perforation to the bladder is not detected at the time the damage occurs it leads to the leakage of urine which causes a fistula to develop. Surgery is required to repair the damage. If the bowel is injured during this surgery and the injury is not recognised it can lead to very serious consequences as faecal matter leaks into the abdominal cavity this can lead to peritonitis and sepsis. It is vital that damage to the bowel is detected and treated quickly to limit the extent of damage.

If such delays in recognising and treating injury to your bowel or bladder occurred you may be entitled to compensation.

Clinical Negligence during Keyhole Gallstone Surgery

When gallstone surgery is performed, the majority of operations are performed via keyhole surgery as opposed to open surgery. The gallbladder is removed in this operation by clipping the cystic artery and cystic duct and peeling the gallbladder off the liver bed.

When this surgery is performed injury can occur to the bile ducts and the right hepatic artery. When such an injury occurs this can lead to post operative complications. If you have experienced complications following your gallbladder surgery, then you may be entitled to compensation.

Clinical Negligence during Labour

For many women the thought of giving birth can be a scary thought. For first-time mothers the prospect of giving birth is an even more daunting experience as no matter how much reading you may do beforehand it can never really prepare you.

Unfortunately, sometimes the labour is not managed appropriately and when complications occur there is a delay in taking appropriate action to avoid damage to mother and baby.

Clinical Negligence during Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an amazing but equally daunting experience for a woman, during your pregnancy you put your trust in your midwife and doctor to guide you through this important time. However, sadly for some women the standard of care they receive during their pregnancy falls below the appropriate standard expected.

Clinical Negligence Misdiagnosis

When a person starts to feel unwell, they will make attendances upon various medical professionals depending on the symptoms they are experiencing. During such attendances the medical professionals should obtain appropriate details of the patient’s medical history and symptoms, perform an examination and instigate appropriate investigations or treatment plan.

However, some medical professionals fail to take a patient’s history, or they do not note all of the patient’s symptoms, or they fail to refer the patient to undergo appropriate investigations, or there is a failure to interpret investigations appropriately. Also, administrative errors can occur which led to patients not receiving appointments to see a specialists or there are delays in scheduling appointments to undergo tests or medical treatment.

When failings such as these occur patients may be misdiagnosed, this can lead to a patient either receiving no treatment at all or treatment which is inappropriate for their condition. Such errors can lead to serious damage and injury to the patient.

Clinical Negligence relating to GP Treatment

For most of us when we first start to feel unwell our first port of call is to attend upon our GP. As a GP they are expected to be able to diagnose and treat various conditions and where appropriate they are to identify when patients require specialist treatment.

Many clinical negligence claims relating to treatment provided by a GP relate to a failure to diagnose a patient or misdiagnosis.

The National Institute for Clinical Negligence (NICE) are putting guidelines together to advise GPs when to make certain referrals and provide certain treatment. Some examples of clinical negligence that can occur when receiving treatment from your GP include:

Failing to refer a patient for cancer investigations
Failing to make planned referrals
Prescribing the wrong medication
Failure to monitor regular medications for known side effects
Failure to diagnose meningitis resulting
Failure to diagnose and treat unstable angina, leading to cardiac arrest

Clinical Negligence Surgery Miscellaneous

Other clinical negligence issues which may occur when undergoing surgery include when cosmetic surgery has not been performed appropriately. Also, during various operations other organs can be damaged which may be negligent or there has been a failure to recognise the damage has occurred and to treat it appropriately. Also, during the course of surgery swabs and various surgical instruments have to be used.

After an operation is completed theatre staff have to ensure that all swabs and surgical instruments used during the operation are accounted for. However, on occasions negligence occurs when swabs or surgical instruments are left inside patients. When such foreign objects are left inside a patient, complications can occur such as infections can develop and further surgery is required to remove the foreign object.

If a foreign object has been left inside you after undergoing an operation then you may be entitled to compensation.

Negligence by surgeons or clinicians can be due to faulty or misused instruments or from a lack of training. Some surgeons take on or are given too much work and fail to deal with consent issues properly or explain procedures post-surgery. This lack of communication can lead to clinical negligence claims.

Congenital Hip Dysplasia

This is a condition of the hip joint. All newborn babies are supposed to be screened for congenital hip dysplasia, and checks should also be made at 6 months and at various development checks.

Providing the condition is found early the prognosis is good. However, if the condition is missed and it is not diagnosed before a baby starts to walk, the prognosis is not as good.

When there is a delay in diagnosing this condition the treatment is more complex surgery and there are risks of complications and further treatment being required in the future.

Delayed Diagnosis of Cancer Claims

Cancer has various stages of development, the sooner cancer is detected this provides patients with a better potential prognosis. If opportunities are missed to diagnose and treat cancer, the cancer will develop to a more advanced stage as a consequence the delay will have made a difference to the outcome. Unfortunately, the effect is extremely serious. However, a delay of a few months will not normally make a difference.

A delay in diagnosis of cancer can occur when:
– X-rays and scans were misinterpreted
– Tissue samples and smears were wrongly interpreted by pathologists
– Adequate investigation was not carried out.

Episiotomy and Second or Third Degree Tears

It is sometimes necessary for women to have a surgical incision to make the delivery of the baby easier. Such an incision is made if the baby needs to be delivered quickly or it is thought the woman’s skin would tear more severely without such an incision being made.

If an episiotomy is not done correct or does not perform it when required, it can lead to more severe tearing of the skin or other complications such as incontinence.

Erb’s Palsy or Brachial Plexus Injuries

During the course of a pregnancy the size of the baby should be monitored. It is necessary to monitor the size of the baby for several reasons, including ensuring appropriate birth plans are made. If a baby is very large this can cause complications with vaginal deliveries and as such it is necessary to plan for a caesarean section or episiotomy.

However, if such steps are not taken during the delivery of a large baby, then the shoulders of the baby can become stuck which is very dangerous. In such situations the nerves in the baby’s shoulders can be injured which can cause paralysis to the arm or hand. In cases like this you may be able to make a birth injuries claim.

Forceps Delivery or Ventouse Delivery

If the baby becomes distressed during birth, assistance is sometimes needed to pull the baby out and a choice needs to be made between a forceps delivery or a ventouse delivery. Each method should only be used in specific circumstances and a trained medical professional should know when to use each tool. If the wrong choice is made, scarring can occur to the baby’s head or face and nerves can be damaged causing the face to droop on one side.

If your baby has been injured where forceps or ventouse delivery has been performed there may be a claim for clinical negligence.

Gestational and Maternal Diabetes

During pregnancy some women develop maternal/gestational diabetes. However, for some women the medical professionals involved in their care fail to recognise the signs that they have developed this condition.

Some women may be predisposed to developing maternal diabetes due to their family history of this condition and negligence may occur when the healthcare professionals fail to undertake a screening test to diagnose the condition.

If there is failure to diagnose or manage maternal diabetes it can have serious consequences for mother and baby, including miscarriage, birth defects, the baby can also grow to a large size which can lead to difficulties with the birth.

In these circumstances you may be able to make a clinical negligence claim for birth injuries compensation.

Hospital Negligence & Treatment Errors

When a patient is admitted to hospital sometimes clinical negligence can occur when there is a failure to monitor patients appropriately and recognise that there is deterioration in the patient’s health, there can be inadequate care provided post-operatively, delay in operation on a patient which can lead to serious and life-threatening consequences.

Some patients may encounter when they are not provided with appropriate treatment.

Incorrect Diagnosis of Cancer Claims

For some patients they may be misdiagnosed as having cancer. Some patients may have undergone unnecessary medical procedures, and others have developed a severe psychological reaction to the belief that they were terminally ill.

Clinical Negligence with Prescription Errors

Mistakes with prescriptions can occur when GPs or hospital doctors write a prescription with an incorrect spelling or dosage or administration advice. Alternatively, pharmacies can also issue the incorrect medication or dosage to patients. Many medication errors cause harm only for a short period, but some result in serious injury, illness and even death.

When prescriptions are issued for children, particular care has to be taken to ensure the medication and dosage is appropriate for their age and weight. However, this is not always done and harm can occur.
If you have been prescribed the incorrect medication, then you may be entitled to claim compensation and you should contact us to discuss the matter in more detail.

Negligence at A&E

We are aware that our A&E departments are busy environments and they have to deal with every sort of medical condition and emergency situations. However, despite A&E departments being high pressure environments, patients should still receive the appropriate standard of care. When the level of care falls below the expected standard and it can be shown that this has resulted in additional injury then you are entitled to compensation.

Medical negligence can occur in A&E departments when there has been a mistaken diagnosis or a delay in diagnosis. When receiving medical treatment in A&E departments errors can occur when taking the patient’s history or noting their symptoms which impacts on the diagnosis or treatment provided.

If appropriate examinations or investigations are not performed, or if test results are misread this can lead to incorrect treatment.

Orthopaedic Injury Claim Cases

When you experience an injury to your bones and ligaments you will receive treatment from an orthopaedic surgeon. Clinical negligence may occur when there is a failure to recognise that you have suffered a fracture this can occur when you are not examined or assessed appropriately or x-rays are not reviewed properly to identify the fracture.

Alternatively, in some circumstances the incorrect x-rays are performed which could not identify the fracture.
Clinical negligence can also occur when you have experienced an orthopaedic injury when undergoing surgery. For some patients undergoing surgery incorrect joint replacement components can be used or not fitted correctly. When patients require ligament reconstruction surgery negligence can occur when grafts are placed incorrectly.

Pre Eclampsia

Pre eclampsia is when the mother’s blood pressure becomes very high. This is very serious condition and can led to the death of mother and baby. This condition occurs when the placenta which carries all of the necessary oxygen and nutrients to the developing baby

During the course of your pregnancy a mother should be seen on a regular basis by their midwife and during such appointments the mother’s blood pressure should be checked and urine samples taken.

Pre Eclampsia is diagnosed by monitoring the blood pressure of the mother and through testing her urine. It can only be cured by delivering the baby but can sometimes be managed if the baby has not developed sufficiently to be delivered safely.

Repairs to Tears

During the course of giving birth the skin stretches, but for some women their skin can tear very badly. When such tears occur it is necessary that the repairs are undertaken in an appropriate setting and by someone with the appropriate expertise.

If such repairs are not performed appropriately the woman can be left experiencing issues such as incontinence.

Stillbirths due to Clinical Negligence

When a baby is born at 24 weeks of the normal 40 weeks of gestation the term stillborn is used. If a baby dies before it reaches 24 weeks of gestation the loss of the baby is known as a miscarriage. If a baby is born alive, and tragically passes away post birth, this will be regarded as an infant mortality.

Unfortunately, for a large majority of stillbirths the cause of death of the baby cannot be established. However, some of the known causes of stillbirth include birth defects, maternal illnesses, and problems with the placenta.

If during your pregnancy there has been a failure to monitor you or recognise and treat certain symptoms then your stillbirth may have been caused as a result of sub standard care and you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Surgical Accident Claims

When surgery is performed, there are complications which can occur which are a known risk of that particular procedure, such risks should be discussed with a patient before they undergo treatment and their consent obtained.

However, on occasions surgical accidents occur which are negligent, or there are delays in recognising that a known risk has occurred, such a delay means that damage occurs which could have been avoided.

Uterine Rupture and Placental Abruption

When a women experiences placental abruption she may experience heavy vaginal bleeding or abdominal or back pain. The uterus can rupture during labour, a women is at risk of such a rupture if the labour has been artificially induced and the labour is not monitored appropriately.

Placental abruption and uterine rupture can starve the baby of oxygen and the mother is at risk of blood loss and damage the other organs. If these conditions are not diagnosed and treated urgently then you may be able to make a claim for compensation.

Wrongful Birth Cases

During the course of your pregnancy scans and tests are performed to ascertain the health of the baby and to detect any birth defects. There are many different birth defects a baby can have such as spina bifida, club feet, holes in the heart and Down’s syndrome. If tests are performed and there is a failure to diagnose a birth defect which should have been detected then you may be able to make a wrongful birth claim for birth injury compensation.

The phrase ‘wrongful birth’ means that had the parents known that the baby had a birth defect they would have terminated the pregnancy rather than giving birth to a child with a physical or mental disability. In cases such as this compensation will include the costs associated with welfare and healthcare required for the disabled child.