Imagine the scenario: you or a loved one receive the alarming news that surgery is necessary in order to treat and rectify a health issue. Upon receiving such information and once the expected human emotional reactions including shock, denial and anger have subsided, the vast majority of us will usually succumb to a begrudging acceptance that the procedure is a must. Implicitly ingrained within that acceptance is a tacit belief and understanding that, once in the care of medical practitioners, we have very little to fear because we are in the hands of trained experts and professionals.
Unfortunately and regrettably, this deep-seated belief that so many of us have is quickly becoming eroded by reports of instances in the media pertaining to mistakes or blunders committed by health care professionals; errors which so often lead to the lives of patients becoming irrevocably changed. Take for instance the recent report of a man who sought medical assistance for a testicular cyst, only to discover that the entire testicle had been removed by mistake – a so called ‘never event’, the likes of which are seemingly becoming ever more frequent.
Shocking and disturbing as this case may be (not to mention the potential for impact upon this man’s fertility and ability to father children), a review of national statistics prove even more alarming with over 550 of these types of events occurring between April 2014 and December 2015. Ranging from incorrect blood being supplied during a transfusion to incorrect organs being removed, it is clear that these errors are increasing in number and are avoidable. After all, the very last thing that any patient should have to be concerned about whilst in the care of health care professionals is being the victim of a mistake.
Rather than focusing a discussion on why these mistakes are occurring, which would undoubtedly heavily feature complex debate surrounding NHS funding, there is one assertion that must here be made: the levels of mistakes made which are impacting upon the lives of patients is unacceptable and such patients are deservedly entitled to financial redress. Whilst not able to physically repair the damage caused, a financial award to an injured claimant will go at least some way towards easing the devastation caused by a medical mishap. Moreover, with NHS funding being a primary concern, compensation awards to claimants will arguably encourage our government to implement more successful measures designed to improve training, increase staff levels and generally reduce the occurrences of errors across the board.
Here at Farleys we have a dedicated team of medical negligence lawyers who will work tirelessly to achieve damages commensurate with the level of suffering and impact upon life that has been endured by patients whose previously unfaltering belief in their health service has been so badly let down. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this blog.