So, maybe you have been misdiagnosed, or had poor treatment by a medical professional, but you’re not too sure why claiming money from a free service is going to help anyone. Maybe, you’re not entirely sure where the money comes from, or whether you actually have a valid claim? Or even if you do make a claim, does it actually change and prevent the same thing from happening to someone else?
Below, our Head of Medical Negligence and Partner here at Howells, Sue Edwards, debunks some of the misconceptions surrounding medical negligence claims.
Scenario One: Your Negligent Doctor is a Family Friend
My family has used the same GP for 25 years; he’s a family friend. However, he didn’t send my mum for a necessary scan; we have just found out that she now has stage 3 cancer. The hospital is saying our doctor should have picked up on this much sooner. I really don’t want there to be friction or even worse for him to lose his job, but mum is really sick as a result, what do I do?
Knowing that your mother’s condition has been made worse as a result of your GP’s negligence can be extremely upsetting, you may even feel angry. I anticipate that the friction you refer to is probably inevitable.
In that event, you can rightfully request to see a different GP or even transfer to a different surgery.
You may also seek to redress what has happened to your mum by making a claim for medical negligence against the GP. A medical negligence claim will not result in the loss of your GP’s job or even his licence. The claim would be classed as a civil action not a criminal one.
Whilst a claim cannot remedy what has happened to your mum, it may result in compensation which may make her life easier. In relation to her GP, it could well result in him being retrained to prevent this happening to someone else.
Scenario Two: A Misdiagnosis That Has Led to Complications
I’ve been misdiagnosed by doctors with IBS. Three years down the line, it’s now been correctly diagnosed as severe endometriosis. I went for my Laparoscopy (after my appointments being pushed back on multiple occasions) to remove it from my other organs.
Due to it being left for so long, I now have to have a hysterectomy, despite wanting kids.
I am going to have to take time off work after the laparoscopy, which will result in a loss of earnings. The financial repercussions and the fact I will not be able to have children, makes me feel totally devastated. I feel really let down by the NHS. I don’t agree with taking money from the NHS, it’s in a really poor state as it is. Is there another way of rectifying this?
It is completely understandable to feel let down and naturally look to try and claim back what you have lost as a result of this incident. It is not just the physical repercussions, but also the likely psychological effect on you. This is also aggravated by the financial losses you will incur.
A claim can make positive steps in ensuring this type of incident does not happen again. It gives the NHS a chance to rectify ongoing issues and sheds light on where they need to improve staff training. If mistakes are not highlighted, it may mean that poor performance continues.
Like everyone else, the NHS cannot improve if they are not told where they are going wrong. It also gives them a chance to formally apologise to you. An apology is proven to have healing effects on us psychologically, so you can start to mend and go back to normality.
The government actually sets aside a specific budget for medical negligence claims and the sole purpose of that money is to compensate and help mistreated patients get their finances back to normal and compensate for the actual damage caused. It can be a scary decision, but the help is there specifically for claims like yours.
Do You Have a Specific Medical Negligence Question?
We hope these scenarios have addressed some of your concerns. We will be posting future blogs with further questions and answers on potential medical negligence issues.
If you have any queries or would like to post your own question for us to address, then please get in touch with Sue Edwards and her team.