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Clinical Negligence – Frequently Asked Questions

Many people undergo medical procedures and receive treatment on a daily basis which results in an excellent outcome. We are fortunate that our medical care in the UK is of a generally high standard.

However, sometimes things do go wrong which can result in a patient suffering symptoms or injuries which have lifelong consequences. There is a difference between treatment being less than ideal and being 'negligent'. Sometimes, a poor outcome from treatment cannot be prevented, even in the hands of the most skilled and experienced doctors. Where the care has fallen below an acceptable standard however, the law intervenes to provide a remedy. This area of law is known as medical or clinical negligence.

Types of Claim

Some common types of claim for clinical negligence include:

• GP care (misdiagnosing a condition; prescribing the wrong medication; failing to refer to hospital, or failing to detect serious symptoms such as a heart attack or stroke)
• General Surgery (including gynaecology, urology, keyhole procedures and bowel operations)
• Orthopaedic Surgery (missed fractures; inadequate fixation of fractures)
• Obstetric - mother and baby care (doctor or midwifery care during pregnancy and childbirth; baby complications including cerebral palsy)
• Cancer care (delayed diagnosis and treatment; incorrect treatment)
• Accident & Emergency care (including failure to diagnose heart attacks or strokes; missed fractures; deep vein thrombosis / pulmonary embolism)
• Nursing care (patient falls whilst in hospital; pressure sores, or district nursing mistakes)
• Anaesthetic errors, including awareness whilst under anaesthetic or use of the wrong type of drugs

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