Medical Negligence

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A report in this week's North Devon Journal (11/09/14) highlights concerns at the North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple following an investigation in July 2014 by the Care Quality Commission. A report from Professor Sir Mike Richards concluded that work was needed in the safety, responsiveness and leadership of some services at NDDH. There was also ‘poor practice’ in the A&E department and end of life care. The report found the hospital’s system for receiving ambulance patients was not effective and...

It is reported that Derriford Hospital in Plymouth have over 100,000 patients awaiting follow-up appointments. No less than 36,000 patients are in breach of their ‘see-by date’. 5,000 have been classified as ‘high risk’ or ‘time critical’. Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust has been fined more than £1-million for failing to meet follow-up targets. Derriford Hospital is planning to write letters of apology to patients caught in the backlog including those who have been waiting for more than a year. Medical Negligence specialist,...

Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton is braced for a rash of compensation claims after half of patients who had basic cataract operations there earlier this year suffered unexplained problems, including blurred vision and swollen corneas. The operations were carried out by a private company, Vanguard Healthcare, brought in by the hospital to try to clear a backlog, partly due to ophthalmic staff leaving the hospital Trust. The contract with Vanguard has now been terminated and their mobile surgery unit quarantined. Many...

Slee Blackwell Solicitors are currently pursuing three separate medical negligence claims for clients who allege serious failings in their cancer care by experts at hospitals in North Devon and Cornwall. Disturbingly, two clients allege that their cancers were not diagnosed despite very clear warning symptoms (and in one case, not until a matter of weeks before the patient’s death from that cancer). The other claimant alleges serious failure to correctly “stage” and identify the cancer once diagnosed, which meant the treatment...

Devon's four main hospital trusts each reported at least two serious surgical errors in 2012. The so-called "never events" included three at Plymouth's Derriford Hospital, involving a foreign object being left in a patient, surgery carried out to the wrong part of the body, and the wrong dose of insulin being administered. The Royal Devon and Exeter, North Devon Healthcare and South Devon Healthcare trusts each reported two “never” events, involving surgery to the wrong part of the body, and misplaced...

Samantha Hannon of Slee Blackwell’s PIP Implant Action Group reports on recent developments Our offices are continuing to receive a high volume of new PIP implant compensation enquiries from all over the UK. With an estimated 50,000 women in Britain being affected, there is no sign of these enquiries declining anytime soon. As uncertainty over the effects of the PIP implants increases, women who have had these implants have been seeking advice from our specialist cosmetic surgery solicitors to see what they...

While many of us may think that younger doctors should be avoided for the steady hand of a more experienced surgeon a new study has shown that this isn’t the case, with surgeons mid-career between the ages of 35 and 50 being deemed the safest. Published in the British Medical Journal the study showed that those who have been carrying out the same operations for more than 20 years demonstrated a marked deterioration in their performance. James McNally, a partner at Slee...

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), which provides insurance to the majority of family doctors in the UK, has recently published data showing a 20% increase in clinical negligence claims against GP’s in 2010. The MDU report that clinical negligence claims in general are on the increase but there is a marked rise in cases against family doctors. The biggest increases in medical negligence claims involve a late or wrong diagnosis, followed by a failure to refer patients to a specialist. Until recently,...

A young woman has won a substantial six figure award of compensation following her legal battle against North Devon District Hospital (NDDH) as a consequence its failure to diagnose a serious neurological condition. Our client attended the A & E department in Barnstaple complaining of unbearable back pains, but was sent away with only a prescription for painkilling medication. Despite going back to the North Devon District Hospital on several other occasions, senior clinicians failed to take her symptoms seriously; even...

The Pre-Action Protocol for the Resolution of Clinical Disputes was instigated by the Clinical Disputes Forum, a multi-disciplinary body which was formed in 1997 following Lord Woolf’s groundbreaking ‘Access to Justice’ Reforms. The purpose of the Protocol is to encourage openness and provide general guidance on resolving clinical disputes to ensure parties are given sufficient information at an early stage to enable claims to be settled without resorting to Court action. This can lead to significant savings in delay and costs. The...