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Whilst all types of surgery involves an element of risk, as a patient, you have the right to receive a certain standard of care. In most cases, the standard of care provided is exceptional and the outcomes are positive. However, not all types of surgery may go as planned and sometimes it can result in an injury.

Surgical negligence covers a variety of cases. It may occur when the medical team fails to provide the appropriate standard of care either before, during, or after surgery. If this has resulted in an injury, then you may be able to make a claim against the hospital. Our medical negligence solicitors can help you to investigate whether or not this is the case.

If you think that you might have been the victim of surgical negligence, then it’s important to act as soon as possible. The details of the case will be clear in your mind and the records may be easier to find. Generally speaking, there is also a three-year time limit for most types of personal injury claims. However, there are also exceptions to this time limit for children under the age of 18 and patients who are unable to claim on their own due to their capacity and/or disability.

 

What’s Involved in a Surgical Negligence Claim?

In order to be successful in bringing a claim, you will need to prove that the surgery you received fell below a reasonable standard and that you have suffered an illness or injury because of this. These types of claims can be quite complex as the details of your medical treatment may be debated by different experts.

To increase your chances of making a successful case, your solicitor will need to gather as many details as possible and they will also need to use medical experts to show that the surgery performed was negligent and resulted in causing your illness or injury.

 

What’s The First Action?

It is open to you where you think you may have been a victim of surgical negligence to make an official complaint. Making a complaint may be helpful when it comes to building your case and it won’t affect any future legal action.

Once you have submitted a formal complaint, you should expect to receive a reply either by written means or verbally within three working days. The reply should include an agreement to meet and to talk about how your complaint will be handled and how long it is likely to take.

 

Initial Information Gathering

When investigating your case, your solicitor will need to gather information about your illness or injury in order to decide what the best way of moving forward with your claim is. As an example, here are some of the details that your solicitor will try to get:

  • The reason for needing medical treatment.
  • The names of the medical staff that were involved.
  • Details of any witnesses. (Can also include friends or relatives)
  • Details of any later consultations.
  • Details about whether you made an official complaint or a complaint directly to the clinician.
  • Obtain your medical records

 

Getting Appropriate Medical Knowledge and Expertise

To help support your claim, your solicitor will find an independent medical expert with the right knowledge and experience to be involved in your case. Although the medical expert may be referred to as part of your ‘team’, the medical expert will have a duty to provide an independent and honest opinion to the Court.

Your medical negligence solicitor will choose the medical expert that knows the area of medicine relating to your case and will be able to present their findings in court.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Surgical Negligence Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are. At BTTJ Medical Negligence, we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss your surgical negligence claim, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

What is Needed for a Successful Brain Injury Claim?

Head or brain injuries are often the most severe types of injuries as they can cause serious and life-changing impairments. Even seemingly mild head or brain injuries could cause some unwanted side-effects. Medical professionals may sometimes miss subtle brain injuries as it can be difficult to assess the severity of a head injury. This means that the affected person may not get the appropriate care that they require.

If you have suffered a head or brain injury in the last three years that was caused by medical negligence, then you could be entitled to compensation. In order to make a successful brain injury claim, you must be able to prove that the injury was a result of the negligence of the Defendant..

 

What You Must Prove

To successfully make a claim for a brain injury, there are several elements which we will need to show:

  1. The Defendant must have owed you a ‘duty of care’.
  2. The Defendant must have failed to uphold their duty of care to you known as a breach of duty. This is required to substantiate a brain injury compensation claim and it can be through either something they didn’t do, or something they did do but didn’t meet the appropriate standard of care.
  3. As a result of the Defendant’s breach of duty they must have caused you to suffer a brain injury. This is known as Causation and is often the most disputed component of any medical negligence claim.

 

We must prove all of the elements above in order to be successful in your claim. It is for you to prove your case and not for the Defendant to disprove it.

These points may make the entire process sound quite difficult and challenging, but our experienced medical negligence solicitors at BTTJ have the legal and medical knowledge required to guide you through every step of the way, ensuring that making a claim is as easy as possible.

 

Contact BTTJ Medical Negligence for Brain Injury Claims

We understand how upsetting it can be to talk about what has happened and how overwhelming the consequences of negligence are. At BTTJ , we have a team of legal professionals and medical negligence specialists who are exceptionally experienced at handling these types of cases. All advice and information are treated with total confidentiality, compassion, and care.

If you have suffered due to medical negligence and you would like to discuss pursuing a claim for brain injury compensation, then please get in touch with us to see how we can help.

You can call us on 0800 032 2474 or you can send us an email here.

image of doctor in office

It is probably little known to most that General Practitioners (GPs) do not have insurance to treat you.

Instead, GPs are required to be a member of a “Defence Union”, which provides discretionary indemnity arrangements in the case of a negligence claim.    However, as this arrangement is discretionary, and either the GP or the Defence Union can avoid their indemnity requirements, it means that if you are injured by a General Practitioner’s negligence, they might not have the cover in place to meet your claim for damages.

The Government has recently carried out a consultation and plans to replace existing discretionary indemnity arrangements with regulated cover, backed by the Government and similar to the arrangements with NHS doctors and hospitals.   The case made by the Government to switching to a regulated model is that under the current discretionary system – and unlike commercial insurance companies – there is  no contractual obligation to meet the cost of any claim against the professionals they cover and no legal obligation to ensure they have reserves to cover the cost of claims.

The Government plans to ensure that all healthcare professionals in the UK are covered by an appropriate indemnity scheme so that all clinical negligence cases are covered.

Not surprisingly, GPs and the Defence Unions are opposed to the proposals, fearing higher insurance premiums and that it will take away a significant amount of funding from the Defence Unions.

 

The present discretionary indemnity arrangements also extend to hospital doctors carrying out private consultations and treatment.   It is clear from the Ian Paterson (Breast Surgeon) experience that under the present scheme Defence Unions will try to avoid their financial responsibility if they can.

Unfortunately,  I have experienced over the years a number of cases where both GPs and private doctors have not had the appropriate indemnity cover for the treatment they are providing or that the Defence Unions have refused to indemnify the doctors under the discretionary scheme, leaving injured people without any real redress.

 

Tom Barnes

Head of Medical Negligence

 

About the Author

Tom is a partner of BTTJ and Head of the Medical Negligence department.  He is a member of both the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel and the Action against Medical Accident panel and has been recognised by the Legal 500.

If you need any help with medical negligence you can call Tom on 024 7653 1532 or email tom.barnes@bttj.com

As a qualified nurse working in the Clinical Negligence team it is likely that I will be the first person in the team that you speak with when you get in touch with Brindley Twist Tafft and James to discuss a potential claim.  It is my role to listen to people, to find out about their situation, to ask appropriate questions and to obtain the specific details surrounding their medical negligence complaint.

I know that patients who contact us about medical negligence are going through a traumatic time and that it can be difficult to speak to someone about what has happened.  It is very important that our clients and potential clients know that they are really being listened to and taken seriously;  I will always do everything that I can to support the people that I speak with, and to reassure them that their concerns are genuine.  People are often unsure if they have a case that can be pursued so we will work together to determine whether they do.

During our initial conversation with new clients I will ask questions about times, places and the events that took place.  Because of my extensive medical training and experience (12 years’ experience as a nurse working across a variety of medical settings including Emergency Care, Critical care and Community) I am able to quickly understand the medical details involved when people are describing the events that led them to get in touch with us.

Once I am content that I have obtained all of the relevant information, it is my role to present the facts of each potential case to the rest of the team.  Together we will go through what has happened and discuss how we can help you.

If we are able to help you pursue a claim, one of our specialist lawyers will be in touch to arrange an interview with you, which will normally take place in person.  This will include going through the background facts in detail as well as explaining the legal process.  One of the first steps after the interview is for us to obtain your medical records.  Once the records have been received, I use my medical training to help collate the records into a sensible order and to prepare a chronology of the key events.

Because many medical negligence cases are highly complex, we will often also instruct independent medical experts in the relevant field to assess your case and provide a formal report.

The team prides itself on obtaining the best possible settlements for all of our clients, as well as providing support throughout the whole process.

 

If you have any questions about medical negligence then  please get in touch to see how we can help.

 

John Snowdon

BTTJ Medico Legal Assistant

As a Specialist Clinical Negligence Practitioner, I work solely for clients who have suffered as a result of medical negligence.

It is my role to work with clients from their initial contact with us, all the way through to getting the best possible settlement for them.

I find that clients can sometimes feel unsure about getting in touch with a law firm; they do not know what to expect and are concerned about how daunting it may be on top of the challenges they already face due to the negligence.  When I first talk to my clients, I’ll take them through what steps are involved so that they understand what will happen during the claim process.

I am part of a vastly experienced Clinical Negligence team at Brindley Twist Tafft and James (BTTJ) who have members with specialist accreditation from the Law Society and from AvMA (Action Against Medical Accidents) and who fully understand how emotionally difficult bringing a claim may be.  We pride ourselves on making the process as straightforward as possible and do our best to put clients at ease.

Although each case is unique, the actions that I take to pursue compensation for clients that have suffered as a result of negligence can be broadly broken down into 4 main areas (which I also talk about in this video):

  • First I will obtain any relevant medical records – this helps me to establish a timeline of events.
  • Once I’ve assessed the records, I will ask an independent medical expert to assess the case and provide evidence as appropriate. At BTTJ we have a range of excellent independent medical professionals that we work with and will select an expert specific to each case.
  • Once we have received confirmation from an independent expert that negligence has occurred, I will formally make the allegations to the negligent party (the Defendant).
  • Finally I will obtain compensation for the harm that has been caused.

I support my clients throughout this whole process and am always on hand to explain what is happening and answer any questions.

If you have any queries about pursuing a medical negligence claim, please get in touch with us on 024 7653 1532 – or fill out an enquiry form – and we will be happy to help.

Angus Buchanan

Specialist Clinical Negligence Practitioner

Concerns over operations performed by a Consultant Neurosurgeon at University Hospital in Coventry, Mr Hussien El-Maghraby.

Following a request to review four individual cases, Surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons carried out an inspection in September 2017  where it has been suggested that they criticised two brain surgery operations where the patients went on to die.

Mr El-Maghraby was stopped from performing two surgical procedures consisting of complex spinal operations and brain surgery whilst the patients remain awake without further training and mentorship.

You can read the full BBC story here

Solicitor Richard Stanford was interviewed by the BBC with regards to the unique Clinical Negligence case that was recently concluded with Adam Weitzman QC.

You can watch the BBC story and extract from the interview below…

 

 

 

About the solicitor

Richard Stanford has experience of a very wide range of Clinical Negligence cases including Orthopaedic, Oncological, Urological, Infection, injury during surgery and the management of long term conditions such as diabetes and Crohn’s Disease.  He handles cases from inception to completion, including trial where necessary.

On Wednesday 22 November 2017 Richard Stanford, of Brindley Twist Tafft & James, and Adam Weitzman QC concluded what is believed to be a unique case in Clinical Negligence.

BG had filed a living will/advance directive in 2004 with her local hospital, essentially confirming she did not wish to receive medical treatment nor sustenance if she suffered a significant stroke, having watched her mother suffer for many years having suffered exactly that.

BG then suffered such a stroke and could no longer meaningfully communicate.

Very sadly the hospital had not filed the advance directive in an obvious place. The family were unaware of its existence.

BG spent the next 22 months attempting to refuse food and routinely pulled a feeding tube out. She ultimately underwent surgery so that she was PEG fed.  In the absence of the advance directive this, and all other treatment/intervention, was believed to be in her best interests. The expert evidence confirmed that she understood what was happening to her and around her, and that with hindsight she was indicating she did not wish to be kept alive.

The advance directive was eventually discovered by chance within the records. A discussion with the family took place and BG died in comparative peace within a few days.

The hospital trust accepted liability in their Letter of Response, provided a comprehensive apology and explained that procedures are now in place to prevent further occurrences.

Quantum remained in dispute given the total absence of any similar reported cases. An uplift was sought for aggravated damages given the duration of the unwanted treatment, which constituted repeated assaults.

Settlement was agreed between the parties at £45,000, which will be distributed under the terms of BG’s Will.

It was strange to be arguing that our client’s mother did not die as quickly as she should have…

 

About the solicitor

Richard Stanford has experience of a very wide range of Clinical Negligence cases including Orthopaedic, Oncological, Urological, Infection, injury during surgery and the management of long term conditions such as diabetes and Crohn’s Disease.  He handles cases from inception to completion, including trial where necessary.

Members of the Society of Clinical Negligence Laywers (SCIL) have campaigned at Westminster against fixed fees for medical negligence claims.

The chairman of SCIL, Stephen Webber, said ‘We believe the most important issue here is patient safety – if there can be improvements and lessons learnt then the level of negligence will be reduced. That must be the starting point for reform’

Lord Justice Jackson published a report in July on fixed costs in which he said a working group should be set up.

A response to a consultation on fixed costs for clinical negligence claims is still being prepared by The Department of Health.

The full story, as reported in the Law Society Gazette can be read here.

The work of our Clinical Negligence team is wide and varied, ranging from low value claims for insignificant but unacceptable delays in treatment, to catastrophic brain injury caused by inappropriate medical treatment.

 

The most common cases we encounter include delays in diagnosing cancer, failure to diagnose fractures, falls in hospital and pressure sores. This article aims to provide more information on the last of those issues.

 

Pressure sores (or pressure ulcers) are caused when a person remains stationary for too long. The weight of the body prevents normal blood flow to the area which bears the weight, causing the skin and surrounding tissue to be starved of the necessary oxygen, and other components within the blood, to maintain and regenerate the tissue cells.

 

Pressure sores generally occur on the back of the heels, on the buttocks and on the sacrum (the base of the spine). The heels are especially at risk because the blood flow to the feet is less than elsewhere, there is little tissue between the skin and the bone and, crucially, the area does not usually bear any weight so is poorly adapted to do so.

 

Pressure sores are graded from 1 to 4 depending upon their severity. Higher graded sores can easily become infected and take years to treat. If infection takes hold (which is not uncommon if they occur in a hospital environment) it can lead to blood poisoning and, all too often, the amputation of affected limbs.

 

Some people are more at risk of developing pressure sores than others. Factors increasing risk and vulnerability include:

    • Immobility/reduced mobility (which can be through lifestyle or medical issues) will lead to the person spending too long with weight on “at risk” areas – the longer the pressure is applied, the greater the risk.
    • Circulatory problems such as those seen in diabetics or those with cardiac issues. The blood flow is already poor and it will take less pressure for the supply to be affected.
    • Blood disorders such as liver disease which will mean that the “quality” of the blood is below average, and any disruption to the usual supply will have negative effects more quickly.
    • Dermatological issues: If the person’s skin is already compromised through age, disease or long term use of steroids or steroidal cream (as often prescribed for psoriasis and severe eczema) then it will be more susceptible to damage.
    • Mental Health issues can mean that an individual is unable to comprehend or follow instructions in respect of their own care. They may be entirely oblivious to any risks and may move around less than others.
    • Incontinence and Hygiene issues can leave the skin in a compromised state. Exposure to urine especially causes problems due to its proximity to the sacrum and buttocks; aside from the acid content of urine the prolonged dampness can also make the skin more vulnerable.

 

The risk is multiplied many times for individuals with a combination of the above factors. Because such risk factors are more commonly found in older patients, it is often they who are at the greatest risk, although the problem does not exclusively occur in old age.

 

Pressure Sores are a well-known challenge and a problem for treating clinicians. Extensive research has been carried out and the general view is that their occurrence (at some grade) may be as high as 10% of all hospital admissions. The costs of treating the same are far in excess of the necessary expenditure to prevent them, not to mention the distress and pain caused to the patient.

 

The management of patients in hospital who are deemed to be at risk of developing pressure sores is primarily a nursing issue with accurate assessment (initially and ongoing) and appropriate treatment being key to their prevention. The Royal College of Nursing provides the following Quick Reference Guide which is in use in many hospitals throughout the country – please click on the linkl below.

http://www.rcn.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/78501/001252.pdf

 

Although primarily a nursing issue all treating clinicians need to be aware of the risks of pressure sores. A particular problem is that some patients who require surgery may be kept stationary on an operating table under general anaesthetic for substantial periods of time. Operating tables are not generally designed with pressure relieving methods in mind, and patients are already at increased risk whilst under anaesthetic as blood flow is already compromised.

 

A quote from such circumstances appears in the opening pages of the Royal College of Nursing “Pressure Ulcer risk assessment and prevention guidelines” handbook, referenced above:

 

I had an operation on my gallbladder. I told the staff I was prone to getting pressure sores. They assured me I would not get any while in their care. Low and behold when I came around from the anaesthetic, they found a beauty…it is now six and a half years old

 

That situation is all too common.

 

Generally with appropriate care pressure sores should never develop in a modern hospital, even in individuals with a multitude of risk factors.

 

If you or a friend or relative has developed pressure sores, particularly whilst in hospital, there is a strong possibility that you or they will be entitled to compensation for the same. Should that be the case we invite you to contact our experienced team for free advice, in confidence and without obligation.

 

Richard Stanford

If you require more general advice or information concerning pressure sores it can be found here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Pressure-ulcers/Pages/Introduction.aspx