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Negligent Medical Care At Weekends
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    In May 2013, a British Medical Journal (BMJ) study revealed that patients undergoing planned surgery were more likely to suffer fatal clinical negligence during the weekend than at the beginning of the week.

    Naturally, many individuals, medical authorities, and organisations – such as the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) – declared that these findings were unacceptable and that people should receive the same level of care from medical professionals throughout the week.

    Reasons behind the poor level of care

    Reportedly, the lack of experienced doctors on duty in hospitals during Saturdays and Sundays impacted the safety of patients undergoing elective surgical procedures.

    Furthermore, the lack of consultants available during emergency cases at the weekends meant that those patients were more likely to die than if they had been admitted earlier in the week.

    The team which undertook the study – led by a clinical reader in epidemiology and public health at Imperial College London – stated that the risk of a poor outcome to medical treatment increased every day after Monday.

    A spokesperson for the research team explained, “Compared with Monday, the adjusted odds of death [taking into account case mix] for all elective surgical procedures was 44% higher, and 82% higher, if the procedures were carried out on Friday or at the weekend respectively.”

    The study also found that the chances of patients dying or suffering other clinical negligence-related injuries were higher if having a lung removed, an operation to improve blood-flow to the heart, or surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

    Could you be entitled to a claim?

    The skill with which operations are undertaken, and the first 48 hours following surgery, are very important to an individual’s recovery, so a lower quality of care during certain days of the week is unacceptable.

    Fewer experienced staff could mean that a patient does not receive the care they require to successfully recover from their surgery or the initial injuries caused by their accident or illness.

    If you or a member of your family have suffered clinical negligence – which resulted in personal injury or illness – you could be eligible to claim compensation for your pain, suffering, and lost earnings.

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    • Jonathan was able to help the husband of a 50 year old woman claim compensation after the hospital failed to diagnose her cancer. Mrs L attended hospital complaining of pain in her abdomen. She was discharged without further tests but unfortunately she died of thyroid cancer a few months later. Jonathan argued that the chance for a liver biopsy was missed during her visit to hospital and although this would not affect the unfortunate outcome, palliative care could have been arranged to ease Mrs L’s suffering. Jonathan was able to secure Mrs L’s husband a five figure sum in compensation.
    • Jonathan has also helped the family of a 71 year old man claim compensation after a complication in his surgery caused his death. Mr R was suffering from chest pains and was admitted to hospital for tests. He was found to have an issue with his heart and doctors attempted to rectify this with a surgical procedure. Unfortunately during this procedure an air pocket had got into one of his blood vessels which caused Mr R’s death. With expert medical evidence Jonathan was able to secure Mr R’s family £75,000 in compensation.
    • Jonathan helped X get further compensation and access to services to aid in his rehabilitation. X was a subject of sexual abuse from his step father between the ages of 5 and 7. Initial application for compensation was made in 1990 and X was awarded £10,000. After several attempts at his own life, X decided to contact Jonathan to seek further compensation. Jonathan was able to secure X £200,000 in compensation and an overall award of £1,200,000 inclusive of state benefits. More importantly Jonathan then arranged the Special Needs Trust to support X’s rehabilitation.
    • Jonathan helped the parents of Baby B claim compensation after a failure in care during labour resulted in Baby B’s death. Initially the Trust denied they were responsible for Baby B’s death but after negotiations the Trust admitted responsibility and Jonathan was able to negotiate an out of court settlement for Baby B’s parents.
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      Disabled children bring great joy to their families’ lives but, with an eye to their future care needs, it is always wise to explore the possibility of seeking compensation. In a case on point, a settlement secured for a profoundly disabled teenager successfully ensured that she would always be properly looked after. Continue reading »

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