Placing your health in the hands of a medical professional requires a certain degree of trust. It can sometimes be difficult to tell whether you’ve received the required standard of care. After all, some illnesses are more difficult to treat than others and some recoveries have their ups and downs, through no fault of the medical practitioner.
So how can you tell, objectively, whether it’s time to pick up the phone to medical negligence solicitors? There are at least five common scenarios worth looking out for.
1. A misdiagnosis or late diagnosis has caused further harm to your health.
The NHS pays out millions to compensate victims of misdiagnosis, every year. If your doctor mistakenly thought that you had something when you didn’t, it can be hugely consequential. Similarly, a late diagnosis can be disastrous in cases where early intervention is required. Of course, everyone makes mistakes – but if you can demonstrate that a reasonable professional in the same situation wouldn’t have made the same mistake, then you have a medical negligence claim.
2. A prescribed drug or medication has had an adverse effect on your health.
All drugs come with side effects, which will need to be explained by the person prescribing them. If you develop serious health problems as a result of a prescribed drug or medication, you might be able to pursue a claim of medical negligence.
3. An operation or procedure was carried out incorrectly.
Botched surgery is something that leaves the door wide open to a medical negligence claim. It’s usually easy for a competent solicitor to demonstrate that harm was done in these cases, particularly when further corrective surgery has been necessitated, or the patient’s health has deteriorated following the failure.
4. The level of care you received failed to meet your expectations.
Your subjective experience can help to indicate whether there’s a case to answer. If you feel that the care didn’t meet your expectations (presuming your expectations are realistic), then it might be worth listening to your intuition.
The crucial test here is whether the level of care caused your health to suffer. Note that this suffering doesn’t need to be physical – if your mental health has deteriorated as a result of your experience, then you could make a case.
5. You have been refused treatment for something that has later caused further issues.
A medical professional doesn’t need to actively do something to be guilty of medical negligence. A failure to take action might equally make them culpable. If you can demonstrate that a medical problem has worsened after you were refused help for it, then you might well have a case to put forward.