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23 May 2024

Clinical Negligence

Types Of Medical Negligence Claims

Although rare, medical negligence can occur.

When you’re in the hands of healthcare professionals, there is an expectation that they will provide you with a high standard of care and treatment.

That said, there are occasions when the care received falls below standard, and things can go wrong. This is when medical negligence can occur, and you could be entitled to make a claim. 

If you suspect you’ve suffered medical negligence, this guide is here to help.

Before we get into the various types of medical negligence claims, let’s break down the definition of medical negligence.

The Definition Of Medical Negligence

In short, medical negligence can be defined as substandard care provided by a medical professional to a patient which has either caused injury or worsened an existing condition.

Medical negligence covers any negligence in a healthcare setting where a healthcare professional or institution is at fault. 

Types of medical negligence claims include, but are not limited to:

  1. Surgical negligence
  2. GP negligence
  3. Birth injuries
  4. Sepsis
  5. Dental negligence
  6. Cancer misdiagnosis 
  7. Pharmaceutical negligence
  8. Pressure ulcers 

1. Surgical Negligence

Surgery can take many different forms.  It is usually performed as a scheduled operation, but emergency surgery is frequently required and can be life-saving.

Although most general surgical procedures in England and Wales are successful, surgical negligence can occur.

Types of surgical negligence claims can include but are not limited to:

  • Abdominal surgery claims
  • Gynaecological surgery claims
  • Orthopaedic surgery claims
  • Brain or spinal surgery claims
  • Ophthalmic surgery claims
  • Cosmetic surgery claims

A common theme in surgical negligence cases is that it has taken too long to operate in an emergency situation or a common complication that arises during surgery is not spotted and rectified before the operation is concluded.   

2. GP Negligence

Next, a type of medical negligence claim is GP negligence.

GPs are usually excellent at diagnosing and treating conditions, but there are circumstances when the correct steps aren’t followed.

General Practitioners (GPs) are under increasing pressure and can make mistakes, ranging from failing to examine a patient properly (or at all) to making an incorrect diagnosis.  This is happening more and more frequently with the advent of “virtual” consultations.

In some cases, this can result in the patient’s condition worsening or becoming life-threatening. 

Should there be grounds to seek compensation for GP negligence, an experienced medical negligence solicitor can guide you through the investigation process.

3. Birth Injuries

A common type of medical negligence claim relates to birth injuries.

Although most births are free from complications, birth injuries can occur and include any harm that comes to the mother or baby during or after pregnancy.

At Harding Evans, our expert medical negligence solicitors have a wealth of experience dealing with birth-related injuries and illnesses, including:

  • Anaesthetic complications
  • Injuries to mother or baby due to forceps being used in delivery
  • Failure to detect foetal abnormalities during antenatal scans
  • Failure to diagnose and treat ectopic pregnancies
  • Incorrect repair of vaginal tearing
  • Retained placental tissue being undetected
  • Injuries to baby during Caesarean Section
  • Unexpected damage to mother’s internal organs during Caesarean Section
  • Incorrect maternity care leading to injury to baby or stillbirth

We understand that birth injuries and complications can be traumatic for families, and our sympathetic solicitors will handle your case with the utmost care.

Please contact our clinical negligence solicitors today to establish whether a claim is possible.

4. Sepsis

Referred to as ‘the silent killer’, sepsis is a life-threatening reaction to an infection and is a medical emergency.

48,000 people lose their lives in sepsis-related illnesses every year in the UK alone, highlighting how serious it is.  Even the people that survive can lose limbs if sepsis is not diagnosed and treated quickly enough.

Symptoms of sepsis can vary greatly, which is largely why sepsis is notoriously difficult to diagnose. 

That said, common symptoms include slurred speech or confusion, muscle pain, breathlessness and mottled skin.

If you or a loved one has suffered from sepsis that could have been recognised sooner, you could be eligible to make a claim. 

5. Dental Negligence

Another type of medical negligence claim is dental negligence.

Dental negligence can take many forms, from failing to diagnose gum disease to extracting the wrong tooth.

If your dentist has failed in their duty of care and the treatment you received wasn’t up to standard, a dental negligence claim could be possible.

To learn more about dental negligence, be sure to read our blog here.

6. Cancer Misdiagnosis 

Last, but by no means least, a type of medical negligence claim is cancer misdiagnosis.

1 in 2 people will develop cancer during their lifetime. While advances in medical treatments and therapies for cancer can be comforting, a cancer diagnosis remains a life-changing event.

Many types of cancers are more likely to be misdiagnosed or go undetected, including breast cancer, bone cancer, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer and liver cancer, to name a few.

If you’ve suffered as a result of medical negligence related to a cancer diagnosis, a medical negligence solicitor will be able to assist you in getting the compensation you deserve.

7. Pharmaceutical Negligence

A high proportion of the UK population takes regular prescribed medication. For the majority, this is life-saving/life-changing. 

However, sometimes, a medication regime does not go to plan. Occasionally, the prescription is incorrect, i.e., prescribing the wrong dose of a certain medication or prescribing something that is contraindicated for a particular person’s circumstances. 

Alternatively, if the prescription is correct, sometimes the pharmacy dispenses the wrong medication – either the wrong medication altogether or the wrong strength of the correct medication.

Any of these problems can cause a patient to suffer unnecessarily and can cause life-changing issues and, in some circumstances, death.

If you have suffered because you have been given the wrong medication, a solicitor will be able to advise you on whether you could have a claim.

8. Pressure Ulcers

Unfortunately, whilst in a hospital or a care home setting, lack of proper pressure care can cause a patient to suffer painful and preventable pressure ulcers on different parts of their body, such as buttocks, heels, sacrum, etc. 

These can go down to the bone and cause unnecessary pain. Pressure ulcers are usually completely preventable; therefore, it is likely that if you or a loved one have suffered a pressure ulcer, except in extreme circumstances, it may have been avoidable. 

If you or a family member has suffered from a pressure ulcer while receiving care, contact us to make a claim.

How Long Does A Medical Negligence Claim Take?

In short, there isn’t a straightforward answer to how long a medical negligence claim can take, as each case is different.

While simple cases where liability is admitted can be settled in 12 months, more complex cases can take significantly longer to resolve.

How We Can Help

If you or a family member has experienced illness or injury as a result of poor-quality medical treatment, our team of experienced clinical negligence solicitors is on hand to help.

Get in touch with a member of our team today to find out more.


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