While healthcare providers owe their patients a duty of care, unfortunately it’s not always possible to uphold the highest standards. With 12,629 clinical negligence claims received by NHS Resolution in 2020-21 alone, independent mistakes can lead to major incidents of malpractice.
It’s important to make sure you and your employees are aware of the different kinds of medical negligence claims that could be made against your practice. While it’s impossible to eradicate human error, using this guide to learn about negligence claims could be invaluable.
Prescription and Medication Errors
Tens of thousands of people across the UK rely on certain medicines to control symptoms or alleviate pain from health conditions. These medicines are usually provided on prescription, but sometimes mistakes can happen in the handling, labelling and distribution.
If a patient is given the wrong dose or, in extreme cases, the wrong medicine, it could be damaging or even devastating for their health and result in an allergic reaction or unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
From poorly performed surgical procedures to misdiagnosis or inadequate patient care, mistakes in private or NHS dental practices carry serious consequences. Dental trauma is incredibly difficult for patients to deal with, impacting eating, drinking, speaking and socialising.
However, if a healthcare provider believes a member of their staff has been unfairly accused of medical malpractice, they will want to be defended by clinical negligence specialists. While patients always deserve a proper duty of care, it’s necessary to investigate any claims as thoroughly as possible.
Tragically, mistakes are sometimes made that should never happen. Referred to as ‘never events’ by governing bodies, errors during surgery could include the wrong body part being operated on or the wrong procedure being carried out.
According to the World Health Organization, 18% of EU citizens have experienced a serious medical error in hospital. This figure outlines the urgent need for official bodies to ensure that medical staff undertake extensive training procedures to prevent the worst from happening.
Misdiagnosis occurs when a medical professional fails to properly diagnose the condition a patient is suffering from. This could take the form of a delayed, incorrect or unclear diagnosis, and could lead to prolonged suffering.
With more and more medical appointments being carried out virtually in the wake of the pandemic, chances of misdiagnosis could well be greater. Providing an empathetic service to patients could encourage them to reveal crucial details about their symptoms, helping doctors to provide a correct diagnosis.
If you work in healthcare, it’s important to know some of the most common medical negligence claims – and how we can all work towards better treatment.
A clinical negligence claim could impact your career as a medical professional going forward. Firstly, it could damage your reputation and the trustworthiness gained by patients and as a result, lose customers. It could also damage your confidence. As a medical professional, you will be tasked with many stressful, high intensity events where the smallest mistake could mean life or death. If you do not have the confidence to perform medical tasks, you should not. If you are subject to a claim, it is recommended to not only speak to claim specialists, but to also take time to look after your mental health. This could include practicing mindfulness and meditation, speaking to your loved ones, friends or psychologists in the most severe circumstances.
Now that you have a more thorough understanding of the different types of medical malpractice, you will be sure to take extra care going forward in your medical career, avoiding any potential claim.