Medical Negligence

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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...

The rise in complaints against GPs is on an upward spiral. It is therefore no surprise that our legal helpline receives a regular number of calls from people asking, 'my GP has made a mistake, what can I do?' First, not all GP mistakes give rise to a legal claim. many minor issues, particularly those relating to a patient's medical records can be sorted out through the complaints process. Patients do however need to turn to a specialist solicitor when the GP mistake...

We take a look at the vexed issue of medical consent from a personal perspective The son of one of our lawyers recently needed some fairly radical emergency treatment at a Devon hospital after an unfortunate accident on a farm. When the time came for him to be wheeled into operating theatre, she was asked to sign the inevitable consent forms. She stood there, pen in hand, whilst the gowned surgeon sharpened his tools and his team busily prepared for the...