Misdiagnosis and Delays in Diagnosis
Misdiagnosis can occur as a result of an error during an examination, failure to interpret symptoms correctly, miscommunication between staff, a mix up of patient records, and many other reasons. Failing to diagnose a medical condition properly can have serious health implications, as patients may be treated for a condition that they don’t have, or not treated for a condition that they do have. In some cases, failing to treat a condition or illness may mean that it becomes much worse over time, or that further health problems develop. Misdiagnosis generally falls into three main categories.
Failure to diagnose – this is where a patient is suffering from a condition, and a medical professional does not diagnose them with anything, which may mean that it is prolonged or worsened over time.
Severe Misdiagnosis – this is where a medical professional diagnoses a patient with completely the wrong condition. This can result from failure to spot vital signs, or mistaking symptoms for those of a different condition.
Partial Misdiagnosis – this is where a medical professional diagnoses the correct condition, but fails to diagnose the correct subtype or nature of the condition. For example, a doctor may correctly diagnose a tumour, but fail to diagnose that it is cancerous.
Dental negligence can apply to mistakes or damage caused during routine checkups and procedures, as well as in relation to oral illnesses such as mouth cancer and gum disease. As with all medical conditions, it is important that dental problems are diagnosed as early as possible, and treated effectively in order to prevent them from getting worse. Not treating a dental condition may mean that more extreme treatment such as tooth extraction is necessary at a later stage, and some dental illnesses may also have serious health implications if they are not treated correctly. Our solicitors have experience in dealing with dental negligence in the following areas.
- Failure to diagnose or treat a dental condition or illness
- Poor treatment of a condition such as a crown or filling
- Incorrect advice about alternative treatments
- Damage to other parts of the mouth
- Incorrect administration of anaesthesia
- Poor cosmetic dental work
- Delayed referral to a specialist
- Use of faulty or contaminated equipment
With any kind of surgery, there is a risk that complications or problems may arise which may cause further medical problems for patients. Before going in for any operation, doctors and surgeons should make sure that their patients are fully aware of what is involved in the procedure, the associated risks, and how they will be affected by the surgery. However, there are cases in which human error, miscommunication, or poor hospital protocol may lead to unexpected mistakes being made during surgery, including the following.
- Wrong patient surgery
- Incorrect surgical procedure
- Incorrect administration of anaesthesia
- Objects and instruments left inside the body
- Use of faulty or contaminated instruments
- Damage to other parts of the body such as nerves and tissue
- Failure to advise of possible risks and side-effects of surgery
- Failure to effectively stitch or dress the surgical wound
- Failure to provide proper aftercare and advice
- Hospital infections such as MRSA
The outcome of surgical negligence can have serious impacts on patients and their families, as it may result in prolonged suffering and illness, a requirement for further treatment, or reliance on care from others. Our solicitors can help to evaluate the effect that surgical negligence has had on your life and help to make a medical negligence case for you, or on behalf of a loved one.
Cosmetic Surgery Errors
Cosmetic surgery is a rapidly growing industry with an ever-increasing variety of procedures, used by people to enhance their appearance or to correct disfigurations and deformities. Although cosmetic surgery may not be considered to be a medical procedure, any healthcare professionals that carry out surgery or cosmetic treatments are still under a duty of care to their patients. Unfortunately, some treatments, such as Botox and chemical peels, can legally be carried out by unqualified practitioners, which increases the risks involved in negligent treatment. The field of cosmetic surgery also includes more minor procedures such as hair removal and treatment of warts and skin tags, which can still have harmful side-effects if they are not carried out correctly. If you feel that you have received negligent treatment, our solicitors can help to resolve issues in the following areas.
- Skin treatments, such as Botox, chemical peels and fillers
- Facial procedures, such as rhinoplasty, eye lifts, and face lifts
- Weight loss procedures such as liposuction, gastric bands, and tummy tucks
- Laser surgery, including hair removal, tattoo removal and eyesight correction
- Treatment of conditions such as moles, warts, skin tags and lesions
- Breast enlargement or reduction
- Cosmetic dental work
- Acne and scar treatment
Pregnancy and Birth Injuries
During pregnancy and childbirth, both a mother and her child go through significant physical and emotional changes and development. In both straightforward and complicated pregnancies, there is naturally a need for close medical care and in some cases, medical treatment to make sure that everything is well. Unfortunately, whilst most pregnancies go well and babies are born healthy, there are a number of potential risks and health conditions that can occur, such as hypothyroidism, gestational diabetes, cerebral palsy, pre-eclampsia, and wrongful births. All kinds of medical problems can be caused by the following types of medical negligence.
- Incorrect pre-natal advice or treatment
- Infections or damage caused during an abortion
- Incorrect administration of pain relief methods
- Failure to respond appropriately to foetal distress
- Failure to respond appropriately to the mother’s vital signs
- Infections or damage caused during delivery or caesarean section
- Incorrect use of equipment such as forceps
- Use of damaged or contaminated equipment
Injuries or medical conditions can cause distress to mother and baby and in extreme cases, may lead parents to have to make life-changing decisions in order to care for their child. Although no amount of money will be able to compensate for any health problems caused to you and your children, it may help with some of the practicalities and financial costs involved.
The NHS has a complaints procedure for patients who are unhappy with the treatment they have received. The first stage is to make a complaint at the NHS hospital or practice where the treatment was received, using their own complaints procedure. If you are not happy with the outcome, you can then refer your complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. The aim of this complaints procedure is for the NHS to identify and rectify problems, and it does not provide compensation to patients. However, you are still entitled to claim for medical negligence after you have made a complaint through this procedure, and in some cases, it is advisable to make a complaint first, as there will be a record of your case.
All NHS practitioners are under a duty of care to their patients, and if you feel that you have received negligent treatment, you are entitled to make a case against the NHS in order to rectify the problem and claim any necessary compensation. Our solicitors are experienced in dealing with NHS medical negligence cases and can advise you about how to approach the NHS, your legal rights and the different options available to you, and how to progress your case at each stage.