Clinical negligence: the numbers, facts and stats

The number of unplanned neither by the doctor nor by the patient consequences of treatment is rising. Some patients are facing the worst possible consequences as a result of a treatment or surgery gone wrong.

Just to name a few:

  • • A child with a large scar on his cheek commemorating the birth by cesarean section
  • • A person losing erectile function after surgery to remove a hernia
  • • A baby asleep forever because of generous doses of phenobarbital assigned by on-duty medical personnel for children from newborn pathology department to sleep at night better
  • • HIV infection through blood transfusion

According to the NPR article, almost 440,000 of patients in the US suffered from clinical negligence.

‘Bad luck’, ‘fateful combination of circumstances’, ‘doctors are humans first of all’ – will some of these explanations satisfy relatives of the victim? Still, while some take the event as a stroke of fate, others seek legal punishment or deal with the consequences on their own.

In some cases, the arguments of the guilty doctors in their justification do not satisfy the jury. For example, a patient in the United States, which had his leg amputated due to the mistake, as the result of long litigation was paid a compensation in the amount of $1.2mln.

British doctors admit their work is accompanied by too many mistakes that endanger the life and health of patients. According to recent studies, such errors in British hospitals may become a cause of death of 70 thousand patients a year. In one way or another, wrong treatment of patients results in a medical negligence action in every twentieth case. Solicitors.guru, one of the largest collections of legal services in the UK, mentioned that medical negligence solicitors are among the top 5 demanded in the legal industry.

These disappointing statistics appeared in the report, which was published in the latest issue of British Medical Journal. Data was obtained as a result of the analysis of several thousand case records stored in the archives of two London hospitals. Given the relatively small amount of research, it is difficult to compare the results to the whole country, but the trend is clear.

Not every side effect after the treatment is the ground to blame the hospital staff. However, about half the trouble cases revised could have been avoided if the doctors and nurses had the necessary skill and time. Now lack of time simply does not allow staff to pay sufficient attention to many patients.

Among recent examples of medical errors that cost the life of a patient are two cases of improper prescribing. As well as the case of three-year-old Najiyah Hussain, who was given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen. In addition, such shortcomings in medical work cause serious economic damage due to increased length of stay in the hospital. The loss is estimated at one billion pounds annually.

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