What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a healthcare provider fails to provide adequate care to his or her patient and the act or omission causes injury or death. The accepted standards held by the medical industry vary from country to country and medical professionals can avoid lawsuits by purchasing professional liability insurance. This safety net helps offset the risk and cost of a medical malpractice lawsuit which could be very damaging to the healthcare provider.
The National Health System (NHS) has been the defendant in many medical negligence suits. Rather than go after individual clinicians, matters are handled through the National Health Service Trusts and Health Authorities (NHSTHA). Their doctors, nurses, and clinicians can be found negligent because of acts and omissions that result in malpractice.
Medical negligence is something that should be taken seriously. The reasons that this type of negligence can happen can vary in nature, but here are some of the most common reasons that medical negligence can occur.
- Medication Errors – This error is something that occur when a patient is given the wrong dosage amount, wrong form of medication, wrong type of medication, or even just not given any medication at all. These can happen by doctors having illegible handwriting or being filled by the pharmacists incorrectly.
- Non Consent – A patient is able to sue if they feel they were not informed about a procedure that they had happen. This could be anything from a surgery where an anesthesia is used and they weren’t made aware of any risks in using it, and were severely injured as a result.
- A Misdiagnosis – This is a common cause of a medical negligence claim. This can also be considered as a delayed diagnosis. The reason this can be considered as medical negligence is because by being misdiagnosed, the patient is losing time that could have been used to properly treat the correct diagnosis. By being misdiagnosed, this could cause other medical complications which can include serious harm or death.
- Surgical Errors – Common causes of medical negligence resulting in a malpractice suit can occur when surgery is performed. This can be caused by puncturing other internal organs, accidently leaving instruments in the body, to operating on the wrong body part. But it’s not just the surgeons that can be at risk. The staff can be as well during post-operation and complications arise from a serious infection.
For those who experience medical negligence, this can be a very unpleasant ordeal. The patients can feel lost, lonely, and without the help they need. The biggest part of the problem when it comes to medical negligence is the lack of communication between doctor and patient. This can be as simple as not knowing what medications are being taken and what medications the patient is unable to take or allergic to, to not communicating about procedures preceding a surgery.
However there are other ways that medical negligence can have a big impact. The potential loss of finances, work, even loss of limb or their life can be hard to deal with. This can be for the patients and even their families as well. The financial side of medical negligence can mean having to pay for more medicine, more treatments, and maybe the need to be taken care of the rest of their life.
Work can be problematic if there are problems with infection, even the need for extended hospital stay or need for additional medical assistance. This can mean that the patient is unable to return to work which can be a loss of income, and if they have medical insurance through work, a loss of their insurance as well.
If the patient or family believe that medical negligence has occurred, then it would best to contact an attorney that specializes in medical negligence. This person will be able to help determine if indeed medical negligence has occurred and if it has, will then be able to set in motion the correct line of events in order to see compensation be done. Attorneys who specialize in medical negligence have studied and been trained to work with clients and patients to determine if medical has happened. If so, they can do the paperwork and do what they do best.
Medical negligence can be scary but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing what can cause it to happen and how to prevent it is a big part of the battle. Communication is vital and so is being diligent in asking questions.