Negligence is the breach of a legal duty of care owed to one person by another which results in damage being caused to that person. Clinical negligence (often called medical negligence) is concerned with claims against doctors and other healthcare professionals and their employers. In order to succeed in a claim for negligence, the claimant needs to prove that:
- The doctor or other healthcare professional owed a duty to take care of the claimant and not cause injury;
- There was a breach of that duty to take care;
- That breach of duty has caused harm to the claimant; and
- Damage or other losses have resulted from that harm.
There are a multitude of documented cases for clinical negligence, some examples may include,
- Failure to diagnose your condition and give the wrong diagnosis
- Making a mistake during procedures or operations
- Prescribing the wrong drugs
- Failure to obtain consent to treatment
- Failure to warn about the risk of a particular treatment
- Mistakes made during childbirth
It is necessary to show that whatever the doctor did or did not do fell below the standard of a reasonably competent doctor in that particular field of medicine. The test of whether a doctor breached the duty of care owed to a patient is whether he or she has failed to come up to the standard of a reasonable body of other practitioners also skilled in that field.
Damage includes physical injury and psychiatric injury, as well as financial loss such as loss of earnings and future healthcare provision.
Psychiatric injury is the legal term used by the court. It must be a recognised psychiatric injury, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (nervous shock), anxiety disorder or adjustment disorder. Grief or emotional distresses are not injuries for which damages can be awarded.
If you feel that you have been the victim of clinical negligence there are many solicitors willing to give you advice and to help ascertain whether or not you have a case.
Seeking out the best possible advice from a professional solicitor will stand you in good stead for seeking any compensation that is due to you.