Medical negligence happens all over the world, but in the UK, it is said that 1 in every 28 deaths in NHS hospitals could be attributed to malpractice. It can be an error made during surgery or the wrong medication given and could be the fault of a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or anyone else involved in providing medical care.
Some claims are very obviously the fault of a medical practitioner. Removing the wrong leg is an error that will be known right away. However, there are some medical malpractices that need more proof, as they are not so straight forward.
There are several people that could be held responsible for a medication error. A doctor, nurse, pharmacist, hospital or even the manufacturers could get it wrong. The effects of the wrong medication are not always immediate, but they can be dramatic and sometimes life-threatening.
If a patient is given the wrong medication or the incorrect dose of the right one, they can make a claim for medical negligence. However, as with all personal injury claims, the medical negligence claims time limit applies. This is generally three years from the date of the treatment, or three years from the date the patient becomes aware that a mistake had been made. There are exceptions to this time limit, the main one being for children. There is no time limit where they are concerned until they reach their 18th birthday. Then the three-year rule comes into play.
You have to be able to prove that the error occurred because the medical practitioner did not follow the correct procedure, and you had to have suffered as a result. You cannot claim for a genuine mistake or because a medicine did not work as well as you hoped.
If your doctor sends you away saying you have some minor ailment and it turns out to be something more serious, you may be able to make a misdiagnosis claim against them. People are sometimes told they have a chest infection and given antibiotics when in fact they have a disease that could kill them. This can delay the start of what could be a lifesaving treatment.
This usually happens because the doctor did not investigate thoroughly enough. There are tests they can ask for to help them arrive at the right diagnosis and treatment, and it can be a failure to look more closely that is the error they make.
Why People Do Not Claim
Some people do not make a claim for medical negligence because they think their doctor will have to pay them compensation from their own money. However, this is not the case. Doctors legally have to buy liability insurance that covers them and every member of their practice. It is the insurance company that settles the claim. The only thing the doctor might suffer is a higher premium the following year.
Only two types of medical negligence have been mentioned above, but there are many things that can go wrong where doctors and hospitals are concerned. Many millions of patients are treated every year and are very happy with the care they receive. However, if you happen to be part of the small minority where something goes wrong, your claim will not only compensate you, it could prevent the same thing happening to someone else.
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