Fortunately, most errors are relatively benign. However, there are circumstances where incorrect surgery can have devastating and life-long effects on patients. If you think you have been the victim of an incorrect surgical error there are a number of things you can do before contacting a specialist Incorrect Surgery Claim solicitor.
- Make a written complaint. In your complaint ask the Hospital to confirm:
- What surgical procedure should have taken place and what procedure actually took place.
- If there was an error, ask why that happened.
- Ask if a ‘never event’ took place.
- Has a formal investigation been undertaken.
- If an investigation was undertaken ask for a copy of the ‘Root Cause Analysis/Report.
2. Insist on a written response to your complaint. If you remain unhappy with the Hospital’s response then you may wish to consider contacting a specialist Solicitor. If you do make sure you provide a copy of the complaints letter and the response as this is very useful for the early investigative stages. I cannot stress enough that the most important thing you can give your solicitor is information, one thing I always say to my Clients, “tell me everything you think is relevant, I would rather have too much information than not enough”.
Most often the earlier cancer is diagnosed and treated the better the outcome is likely to be. When people learn there has been a delay in diagnosing cancer they worry that it might be too late to treat, or, if treatment is possible, that there is a risk that the cancer might come back. When the delay negatively impacts a person’s chances of relapse they might have a loss of chance cancer compensation claims.
As the law stands at the moment in order to have a loss of chance claim a claimant must be able to show that if the delay had not happened they would have had a better than 50% chance of achieving a complete cure. This leads to what in my mind is a perverseness in the law. For example, take Patient A who has had a negligent delay in diagnosing his cancer. Patient A obtains medical evidence which states had the delay not happened he would have had a 52% chance of never having cancer again. But because of the delay that chance has now been reduced to 48%. No we look at Patient B. Patient B also had a negligent misdiagnoses of cancer. However, perhaps because of the nature of the cancer, had the delay not happened he would have had 50% chance of never having cancer again. But because of the delay he now only has a 10% chance of not relapsing. As the law stands today Patient A whose chances have been reduced by 4% will have a claim but Patient B whose chances have been reduced by 40% cannot bring a claim because he never had better than 50% chance in any event.
When this issue was considered before the House of Lords (as it then was) the requirement of having more than 50% chance was considered to be good law by a 3 – 2 majority. However, Lord Nicholls in particular gave a strong dissenting judgement and questioned whether the correct approach the Courts should be taking was to compensate anyone who suffered a material diminution to their chances, regardless of whether those chances were ever above 50% prior to negligence.
Not so long ago we the law of clinical negligence was shaken up when the Supreme Court decided the case of Montgomery. I would not be surprised if there was a departure from the law as it today if the case was to be decided again.