Hospital Neglect

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Fortunately, for most patients, visits to the hospital are a matter of routine. Across the UK, in National Health Service and private facilities alike, medical attention, surgical operations and nursing care usually meet high standards and secure the best possible outcomes for patients. However, in a few isolated cases, the quality of treatment falls short.

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    Mistakes Can and Do Happen

    As the national public healthcare provider, the sheer size of the NHS means that very occasionally, a hospital stay does not go as planned. While most hospitals and day surgery units have conscientious and competent medical doctors and nurses, it is an unfortunate fact that systemic errors, human mistakes and oversights do occur.

    Complaints About Hospital Negligence

    In the event of problems or poor treatment, the NHS has a complaints procedure under which its managers arrange a thorough investigation of the incident on behalf of the patients concerned. Service bosses have to inform the patient of the conclusion(s) of each investigation. In the financial year 2018-19, NHS England received more than 116,000 such complaints, up by 2 per cent in comparison to 2017-18,

    Furthermore, if a patient is not satisfied with an investigation, he or she can refer the complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman. Additionally, patients or their representatives have the right to seek compensation for injuries, lasting damage and losses due to hospital neglect. More rarely, it is also possible to request a judicial review in cases where the NHS trust or other body has committed an unlawful act.

    Types of Hospital Negligence

    Instances of neglectful care include:

    Importantly, the above examples are not exclusive. Any treatment that does not meet the usual required standards could constitute hospital neglect.

    Preventive Care Plan

    During hospitalisation, every individual with reduced mobility should have an appropriate preventive care plan. In particular, individual care plans require good nursing to prevent pressure sores, caused by friction or bodyweight over a sustained period. Pressure injuries involve damage to surface areas of skin and, in some cases, internal tissue. Unfortunately, they can develop relatively quickly when individuals are sedentary or bed-bound. Also known as lying down ulcers or bedsores, skin discolouration and discomfort are characteristic of the condition.

    Nonetheless, with proper care, prevention is relatively straightforward. Crucially, patients at high risk of pressure sores should receive routine nursing assessments. Without regular changes of position, the elderly and bedridden are particularly prone to developing sores on the back and sides of the head, or the sides of the knees, ankles and toes. For these reasons, daily skincare and regular hydration are also essential.

    Compensation for Hospital Neglect

    Whatever the cause(s) or combination of contributing factors, it is beyond doubt that hospital neglect can lead to complications and affect an individual’s long-term health. Serious conditions, life-changing injuries and losses could occur in the worst cases. Nonetheless, when it is possible to apportion blame, patients affected by hospital neglect might be able to claim compensation.

    Making a claim for compensation can provide a remedy towards the suffering and loss of earnings experienced, along with the cost of rehabilitation or ongoing care. Significantly, if you think you may have suffered due to hospital negligence, it is usually advisable to speak to a legal and medical specialist as soon as practicable. Except for children under the age of 18, a three-year time limit applies. Notably, the clock ticks either from the incident or from the date you first noticed an injury or illness caused by the allegedly substandard care.

    The Search for Information

    Notably, during the search for information about the possible incident of negligence, it is not uncommon to experience a lack of reply or delays in responding. Our experts will handle such issues on your behalf to expedite your claim while collecting and collating information on your behalf.

    Then again, medical practitioners or management might admit liability but contest the extent of the consequent injuries or damage. For these reasons, medical claims tend to involve sophisticated legal arguments – and, sometimes, expert witnesses. For a claim to succeed, it is necessary to prove that the patient was a victim of neglect and that he or she suffered as a result. The patient’s representative has to show that the treatment received fell below a reasonably expected level and, therefore, caused harm. Sometimes, experts refer to this as the Bolam test, after a legal precedent that dates back to 1957.

    Whereas some hospital negligence claims reach their due resolution through negotiation, others might take longer and require a court hearing. Nonetheless, most do not usually arrive in the courtroom; many are settled just before the hearing date.

    Confidential Advice and Support

    Finally, if you have suffered hospital negligence, we invite you to contact our expert advisers today for an initial consultation without any obligation. Naturally, the solicitor will need to know your medical diagnosis, as well as treatment and witness details. For your peace of mind, we work on a no-win, no-fee basis and all calls are in confidence.

    If you or a loved one has suffered hospital neglect please contact one of our specialist solicitors on 0333 987 4161 to discuss your claim.

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