Although medical procedures often come with a certain level of risk, medical staff have a legal duty to exercise due care when treating patients. If someone dies as a direct result of medical treatment, then it's necessary to establish whether or not this duty has been breached.
To give you a greater understanding on whether or not a breach has occurred, we've put together some guidance on what constitutes medical negligence.
If you think that your loved one's death may have been caused as a result of medical negligence, our Medical and Clinical Negligence Solicitors can assess your claim for free and provide you with advice and guidance on the next steps.
What is Medical Negligence?
Medical negligence occurs when a medical practitioner, such as a doctor or nurse, has not exercised reasonable care in their treatment of a patient. It may be that they have done something they shouldn't have, or that they have failed to do something they should have.
If both of the following have occurred, then this constitutes medical negligence:
- There has been a breach of duty and conduct has fallen short of the duty of care owed. This essentially means that the medical practitioner has not provided care of a reasonable standard.
- There is a link between the breach of duty and the injury sustained by the patient. If it can't be demonstrated that the breach caused or contributed to the injury then there will be no grounds to make a medical negligence claim.
Examples of Medical Negligence
Common examples of medical negligence include:
- Failing to diagnose an illness or injury, or diagnosing it late
- Carrying out unnecessary or inappropriate medical treatment
- Carrying out unnecessary surgery
- Making a mistake during surgery or not carrying out a procedure correctly
These mistakes could have been made as a result of a medical practitioner not carrying out the correct tests, not following the correct processes or procedures, or not referring a patient for specialist treatment when they needed it. Medical negligence can occur in any situation where medical treatment has been carried out, such as a GP appointment, a surgical procedure in a public or private hospital, cosmetic surgery, childbirth, orthopaedic treatment or the prescription of medicines.
Factors that can result in medical negligence are wide ranging but aside from human error, other factors may include inadequate systems or process, or insufficient staff on duty to be able to care for patients effectively.
What to Do if You Suspect a Death Was Caused by Medical Negligence
If you think that your loved one's death may have been caused as a result of medical negligence, then it's important that you speak to a specialist Medical Negligence Solicitor as soon as possible. At Co-op Legal Services, our Solicitors specialise in clinical and medical negligence and can provide a free assessment of your claim to establish whether medical negligence may have occurred.
If you instruct us to take on your claim, your Solicitor will carry out a detailed assessment to establish the nature, extent and cause of the injuries that your loved one sustained as a result of the negligence. We can also support you through the coroner's inquest process, liaising with the coroner on your behalf, reviewing all supporting documentation ahead of the inquest hearing and providing you with representation on the day.
If the evidence heard at the inquest indicates that the death occurred as a result of the actions or negligence of a medical practitioner, we will then support you though the medical negligence claims process.
For coroner & inquest advice call our No Win No Fee Solicitors on 0330 606 9587 or contact us online and we will call you.