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Medical Negligence Claims

Contaminated Drip Causes Blood Poisoning for 21 Babies

Twenty one babies have been infected due to a contaminated drip, killing one and leaving at least one more fighting for its life. The babies were being treated in ten hospitals around England when they became infected.

The babies had been given a fluid called parenteral nutrition which intravenously gives children nutrients when they aren’t able to eat on their own. The infections resulted in cases of septicaemia and have been “strongly linked” to an intravenous fluid.

The situation developed rapidly over the weekend with one baby after another becoming infected, triggering a frantic search for the cause of the life threatening infection. It wasn’t until wednesday that it was discovered the cause was a contaminated batch of liquid feed.

The liquid feed was being used in 22 hospitals across the country and has since been recalled. The short shelf life of the product means any unrecalled feed would have been discarded already.

As a result of the contamination, Yousef Al-Kharboush died on the 31st of May at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. Yousef and his twin brother had been put on life support after being born eight weeks premature. Yousef later fell seriously ill after being infected with the bacterium bacillus cereus, he died two days later.

Yusuf’s father, Raaid Hassan Sakkijha, told of the agony of seeing his son deteriorate. He hopes inquiries into his son’s death can help save other children from suffering the same fate.

The manufacturer of the product, ITH Pharma, says there is no need for any more families to be concerned as the contaminated batch has been withdrawn. ITH Pharma said there will be no further batches distributed until an investigation is carried out.

Karen Hamling, the managing director of London-based firm ITH Pharma, said: “We are co-operating with all of our regulatory bodies because we want to ensure something like this never happens again.”

ITH Pharma is inspected every 3 to 5 years and was last inspected April 2012. The company says all staff go through a “rigorous and continuous” training programme which is led by an in house team.

Public health chief Paul Cosford has said a full investigation is underway to determine what went wrong, the investigation will be carried out by the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority.

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Hospital Admits to Errors Causing Childs Death

Stoke Mandeville Hospital has admitted to a number of errors they made which resulted in the death of a 4 year old boy, Oliver Blockley. The young child was given a 95% chance of living when admitted to hospital and later died after the NHS trust made 28 mistakes in his care.

Oliver Blockley was admitted to hospital with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhoea. He was misdiagnosed with gastroenteritis, an illness that can’t be treated with antibiotics which means he wasn’t given the medicine that would have saved his life.

A blood test should have picked up that Oliver had Strep A, an invasive form of sore throat bacteria. The tests showed he was severely dehydrated and was headed for septic shock yet doctors continued to refuse him antibiotics and fluids. Throughout the night the doctors and nurses failed to identify Olivers unusually fast heartbeat and rapid breathing.

Hours after entering hospital, Oliver went into septic shock and suffered cardiac arrest which led to his death. His mother, Jennifer Blockley, was initially denied information about the chances her son had of surviving if medics had acted sooner. Even after the death nurses continued to tell Ms Blockley that Oliver died due to a stomach bug.

The trust admits that Oliver would have survived if it wasn’t for the negligent care he received while in the hospitals care. They admit he didn’t receive the proper medication, fluids or supervision required.

Anne Eden, chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has said the investigation will be as transparent as possible. A letter of apology has been written to the boys family in which it admits to 28 counts of clinical negligence.

Ms Eden has revealed a number of changes have been made including improving the early warning process for recognising when a child’s condition is deteriorating, improving how they treat gastroenteritis and the use and types of fluids given to patients.

The family’s solicitor Laura Cook, of Darby’s Solicitors, said: “It’s another sad example of the NHS only admitting to mistakes after legal action is taken, putting the family through additional stress at what is already such a traumatic time.”

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MP Warns That Doctors Are Afraid Of Innovating

Conservative MP Michael Ellis has said that doctors are too scared to innovate for fear of being sued. He made his comments while moving a motion calling for a Medical Innovation Bill. The proposed bill aims to ensure that all doctors can be innovators and that all willing patients can be research patients. Mr Ellis said that greater approval would be required before patients could be used for innovative testing but that it would open the way for doctors to be able to find cures for diseases like cancer.

Medical negligence claims have risen considerably in the past few years. Last year alone the NHS paid out £1.2bn in compensation to those that successfully brought negligence claims against doctors. Patients that have suffered illness or endured any form of loss as a result of negligence on the part of doctors have a right to claim compensation but, according to Mr Ellis, the increasing likelihood of litigation means that many doctors are afraid to innovate.

While the quality and treatment received by NHS patients in the UK is typically very high, accidents and mistakes do happen. In cases where doctors and other healthcare professionals are found to have been negligent and the patient suffers some form of loss, it is possible for the patient to claim compensation.

The amount of compensation that a claimant is due will depend on the type and severity of the injury that they suffered. While minor injuries can attract claims of a few thousand pounds, more serious and long-term injuries may lead to several hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds. Medical negligence claims of these types are meant as recompense for lost earnings and to cover any expenses that the patient has to meet.

Despite Mr Ellis’ claims, patients that have endured additional illness or injury as a result of action or inaction by their doctors do have a right to claim compensation. Mr Ellis, however, points out that while doctors are afraid to offer innovative treatment options when all other options have been exhausted, they should be free to do so without fear of recrimination. What’s more, patients should be allowed to undergo innovative treatment offered by their doctors.

About The Author

Mike Topper at Stocks Legal Personal Injury SolicitorsMike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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Medical Negligence Mortality Rates In The UK Among Highest In The Western World

The debate over medical malpractice and medical negligence claims in the UK have taken another twist as Professor Brian Jarman of Imperial College, London, has published figures that show the NHS has some of the highest mortality rates of any Western country. NHS patients are considerably more likely to die than those in the USA and many other countries. Pneumonia and blood poisoning are among the worst problems.

Medical negligence claims have been in the headlines, following a call for fewer claims to be brought against doctors and healthcare professionals. Supporters of medical negligence litigation argue that the compensation paid to victims is just because it enables them to recover from injuries and illness that were caused by the action or inaction of a doctor or healthcare professional. The money is used in order to cover lost earnings and other expenses faced by the patient.

Professor Sir Brian Jarman is emeritus professor at Imperial College, London. For the past ten years he has been collecting data on mortality rates in seven countries, including the UK and US as well as five unnamed countries. Using this data, he has created an index of mortality figures. The Index has a base rate of 100, which represents an expected level of mortality. Figures above 100 mean a higher than expected mortality rate while figures below 100 represent fewer deaths than expected.

According Prof. Jarman’s results, collected and calculated for the past ten years, England had the highest death rates and highest Index of the seven countries. Although figures have improved over recent years, in 2012 NHS patients were still 45% more likely to die than patients in the USA. Patients aged over 65 fared worse and a number of factors were highlighted as being potential causes.

The NHS is unique in many ways, being tax funded and free to use at the point of service. This means that patients do not have to worry about the cost of treatment when they do fall ill, but high mortality rates and high medical negligence claim figures could point to potential problems that need addressing in order to provide NHS patients with a safe and reliable service.

About The Author

Mike Topper at Stocks Legal Personal Injury SolicitorsMike Topper is the litigation manager at Stocks Legal Personal Injury Solicitors. Mike is highly experienced in all types of personal injury cases. He is highly focussed on client care and getting the maximum compensation that is available for his clients and their families. He rightly sees personal injury claims as a real must for the English legal System as without a proper compensation structure, many injury people can be left with no support or ongoing medical treatment.

If you have any questions arising from this article to can contact Mike by calling 0800 988 9055 or by sending him an email by clicking here.

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TUC Accuses Government Of Brainwashing Over “Compensation Culture” Claims

The Trades Union Congress, or TUC, has said that the government is guilty of brainwashing the country into believing that there is a compensation culture and attempting to vilify those that have a legitimate cause to claim compensation for their workplace injuries. The TUC has said that the government, backed by Prime Minister David Cameron, is making this move in order to be able to reduce or remove the health and safety laws that are currently in place to protect workers.

The whole personal injury process has come under extensive changes in recent months as the government has attempts to reduce the amount of funding it receives while similarly reducing the amount of bureaucracy and red tape that is met by employers. These reforms have already been criticised by many organisations, individuals, and even the government’s own lawyers. This isn’t the only area in which the government shakeup is proving unsuccessful either.

The Health and Safety Executive, the HSE, has also released plans to change health and safety laws. These changes would mean that fewer near misses would have to be reported while there would be considerably fewer illnesses and injuries listed for companies that do need to submit a report. The HSE believes that this will cut the cost to businesses by millions of pounds a year but some of the proposed changes have been hit by criticism. The proposals are set to come into force in October 2013 but do not yet have parliamentary approval, which would be required.

Hazards, with the backing of the TUC, conducted a study and published a report on the success rate of work related injury claimants. The figures show that the success rate of such claims has plummeted 60% in the past decade.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said that “the government is trying to brainwash people into thinking the UK has a rife compensation culture” and he went on to say that the likely outcome of the changes would mean a “much higher rate of accidents, injuries and illnesses in the future”.

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Types Of Medical Negligence Claim More Varied Than Most Think

Medical negligence claims are on the rise and there are many more people coming forward than ever before with horror stories and worrying tales of how they have been misdiagnosed or given incorrect treatment by their doctors. However, these are just two forms of medical negligence. Other cases where patients could potentially have a case to claim compensation from healthcare providers and healthcare institutions include the prescribing of incorrect medication and even incidents where patients become addicted to prescription drugs.

Prescription drugs do typically come with side effects. Certain drugs, such as codeine based painkillers are highly addictive and guidelines and limits are set so that patients are less likely to become addicted to the drug. Where it can be proven that a doctor or other healthcare provider continued to prescribe addictive drugs, leading to addiction on the part of the patient, it may also be possible to claim compensation.

One campaigner, Barry Haslam, has taken his fight against prescription addiction to Westminster and a meeting with the shadow health secretary Andy Burnham. My Haslam himself was addicted to prescription drugs and, having beaten the problem, he has campaigned to ensure that others are not able to fall so easily into the same trap.

Injuries resulting from botches procedures will usually carry the possibility of compensation. Unfortunately, incidents such as the removal of the wrong limb or incorrect organ do happen. Thankfully, these incidents are the exception rather than the rule but if they do occur then compensation will usually be awarded according to the type and severity of injury or illness caused, the cost of care over the rest of the victim’s life, and the total amount of earnings that the victim will suffer.

Patients that feel they have suffered at the hands of medical negligence are able to make a claim against the healthcare provider or institution that failed them. It is necessary to prove negligence and loss in order for the claim to be ultimately successful. It is also important to enlist the help of a professional and experienced medical negligence solicitor in order to have the greatest chance of winning a compensation claim.

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Medical Negligence Payments Rise More Than 20% In A Year

The NHS Litigation Authority annual report has been released, showing that medical negligence claims have risen by more than 20% in a year. The Litigation Trust blames no win no fee solicitors and compensation farmers that prowl the halls of hospitals encouraging patients to claim for compensation. Individually, some claims were worth £5m each while the number of babies that suffered brain damage as a result of medical negligence was a regrettable stand-out statistic.

Every year, the NHS Litigation Authority releases a report that shows exactly how much they have had to pay out in compensation to patients that feel they have been the subject of medical negligence. The government has recently taken steps to try and cut the cost of these claims but, if the recent litigation report is anything to go by, the changes will need to be more dramatic to have the kind of influence the Prime Minister is hoping for.

£22.7bn of the health service’s annual budget has had to be set aside for the payment of medical negligence claims. This is equivalent to around one fifth of the total claims made and has come as a result of a massive increase in the number of people making claims against healthcare professionals and institutions.

More than 16,000 patients have lodged complaints in 2012/2013 which is a notable increase on the 13,500 lodged in the previous year. Many of these cases are related to well publicised and heavily criticised scandals that have rocked the NHS in this country. Such cases include 120 victims of the Mid Staffordshire Foundation trust, with claims totalling £1.2m and just 14 hospitals have paid out a total of £234m in the past three years alone.

The highest individual payments are those concerning babies left with brain damage as a result of medical negligence. Claims of more than £5m have also been filed from some of the highest earners. Alarmingly, cases where the patient has died as a result of poor care tend to attract some of the lowest payments – the average payment awarded to families of 1,200 deceased patients at a Mid Staffordshire hospital was just £10,000.

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Minimum Staffing Levels Rejected By Jeremy Hunt

A review of hospitals and the care they provide has concluded that hospital wards should have a minimum staffing level to ensure patient safety. The report echoes many of the findings of a public inquiry that was launched and released following failings at the Mid Staffordshire hospital. However, while ministers are expected to agree with the overall sentiment and findings of the report, they have been expected to delay on responding to specific recommendations.

A number of scandals have rocked the NHS in recent months and years. One of the most recent of these led to Prime Minister David Cameron ordering a review of patient safety within the Mid Staffordshire NHS. Patients were found to have been lying in their own faeces and some had to drink water from flower vases because they did not receive drinks from NHS staff. The findings offered nearly 300 recommendations to help improve the quality of the NHS and the patient safety that was afforded. Many of those recommendations have so far been resisted.

However, resistance may prove more difficult for the government and the Prime Minister following a review by Prof Don Berwick. His own findings mirror many of those in the public inquiry and he advised wards have minimum staffing levels and that nurses should be allocated fewer patients. A study found that, in some hospitals, nurses were expected to provide care for up to 15 patients at a time and that the ward relied more heavily on unqualified staff.

One powerful opponent of the proposals is Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt. He has said that he will oppose minimum staffing levels saying that such matters should be determined on a hospital and ward-by-ward basis rather than dictating that every ward should have a set amount of nurses and employees.

Concerns have also been raised over a statutory duty of candour. This would mean that staff who did not report mistakes or negligence may face criminal prosecution but there is worry that this move would create a culture of fear. Mr Hunt said that it is important to tap into the dedicated NHS staff without alienating them.

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MDU Paid Out £28m In Meningitis Claims

The MDU has released details showing that they have paid out approximately £28m in four years to settle GP cases involving patients that have suffered or are suffering from meningitis. The report comes following the news that a new vaccine has been withdrawn because there is not enough conclusive evidence on exactly how effective Bexsero is for patients. The total awarded was spread over only 17 cases and the group said that around 70% of cases they receive are discontinued without further action, because GPs are not necessarily found negligent.

There are, in fact, a number of different types or strains of meningitis, including viral and bacterial meningitis. The latter is considered the most severe form with around 1 in 10 sufferers losing their fight against the illness and many being left with long term damage including the loss of limbs or brain damage. Sufferers of viral meningitis may become extremely ill but it is more likely to present as a mild illness.

A vaccine for meningitis B, called Bexsero has been developed but the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has ruled that it will not recommend the use of the vaccine. They have said that the cost of the vaccine is too high considering the lack of Conclusive evidence that the vaccine works.

The MDU is a leading medical defence body that represents GPs in cases of medical negligence. They have released figures that show they paid out £28m between 2008 and 2012 to patients with meningitis. They say that GPs will typically only see one or two cases in their working career making it very difficult to diagnose. This payment was made to 17 cases and included a £2.5m payment to a child that was not referred to hospital having presented with symptoms of meningitis.

Where patients have not received the proper level of care or have been given incorrect treatment it is often possible for them to submit medical negligence claims. The size of the claim will vary, typically according to the severity of injuries and illness suffered as a result, loss of earnings, and the amount and cost of care that the patient will require.

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