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Solicitor Cheryl Bereza & Paralegal Angus Buchanan answer some commonly asked questions about medical negligence claims in a new series of videos.

In the first 2 videos, they take a look at how you go about making a claim.

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to discuss a medical negligence case, please get in touch with us.

 

 

A No Win, No Fee Agreement is also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement and enables you to make a claim for compensation, with no financial risk to you and without paying any legal fees upfront.

In the event of your claim being unsuccessful for any reason, you will not have to pay any legal fees either to us or your opponent.

This means that those who might otherwise have been unable to pursue a claim with the worry of escalating legal costs are now able to do so without concern.

At BTTJ we offer No Win, No Fee Agreements on all types of Medical / Clinical Negligence cases.

 

If you have a query about a medical negligence claim and how No Win, No Fee works, please get in touch with me on 024 7653 1532 or email me at lynette.walsh@bttj.com

 

About the author

Lynette Walsh advises and represents clinical negligence claimants and has more than 14 years experience.  She is also an Accredited Member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and Law Society Panel.

Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) is a charity for patient safety and justice.  They provide support and  free independent advice to people who have been affected by medical accidents.

They have made the video below which highlights how they were able to help in a case of medical negligence.

 

BTTJ Solicitors Tom Barnes and Richard Stanford are both AvMA panel members.  If you feel you have suffered from medical negligence, please get in touch.

 

 

Results of breast cancer screening

Cancer is one of the most common illnesses in the UK and causes thousands of deaths every year.  It is caused by a change in the body’s cells.

There are more than 200 different types of cancer including:-

  • Brain tumours
  • Bowel / Colorectal cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bone cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Oral / mouth cancer
  • Testicular cancer
  • Spinal tumours

Oncology is the branch of medicine concerned with the study, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cancer.

A medical practitioner should reasonably suspect and refer a patient for investigation that should lead to diagnosis and treatment.

However, if there is a failure or delay in diagnosis this may impact upon life expectancy, the treatment options and how long treatment will last.  This can have devastating effects for the patient and their family.

See the recent case reported of a delay in diagnosis: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-5754873/Grandmother-73-died-NHS-doctors-failed-FIVE-TIMES-detect-bladder-cancer.html

If you think you or a member of your family have suffered a failed or delay in diagnosis of cancer please contact our specialist medical negligence team.

We were very pleased to wear our hats at BTTJ and raise money in support of Hats for Headway during Action for Brain Injury Week.

 

BTTJ Medical Negligence staff

Headway are a great charity who support and provide rehabilitation to people affected by brain injury.  Headway LLR raised over £300.

 

 

 

hip surgery

For anyone who has been affected by the DePuy Hip Replacement claims, there is a very good article which explains, in some detail, how these claims arose and the history behind them along with an explanation of how and why the Court came to their recent decision that DePuy were not negligent in the manufacture of the various metal on metal hip prosthesis.

Click here to read more: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-analysis-colin-gee-others-v-depuy-limited-2018-james-bell

 

If you have any questions, please give me a call on 024 7653 1532

 

Dawn Slow

Concerns over operations performed by a Consultant Neurosurgeon at University Hospital in Coventry, Mr Hussien El-Maghraby.

Following a request to review four individual cases, Surgeons from the Royal College of Surgeons carried out an inspection in September 2017  where it has been suggested that they criticised two brain surgery operations where the patients went on to die.

Mr El-Maghraby was stopped from performing two surgical procedures consisting of complex spinal operations and brain surgery whilst the patients remain awake without further training and mentorship.

You can read the full BBC story here

 

With the introduction of the Civil Liability Bill into the House of Lords this week, the Ministry of Justice has produced their response to the report of the Civil Justice Committee (CJS) and has rejected the argument that there is insufficient evidence to overhaul how the discount rate in personal injury claims is set.

What is the discount rate?

Clinical negligence compensation awards are intended to put the Claimant in the position that they would have been ‘but for’ the negligence. In the most serious cases, the Claimant is awarded a lump sum to cover future loss of earnings, care and future treatment and is expected to invest these funds and receive a return to use for their future needs. The Discount Rate is a figure used to calculate how much Defendants should pay Claimants in cases of life changing injury.

On 20 March 2017, the discount rate was reduced from 2.5% to -0.75%, significantly increasing the amount of compensation that a Claimant could recover.

Why is the discount rate being reviewed?

There has been much debate given the reduction of the discount rate last year. If the discount rate is set too high, the value of the return will not keep up with inflation and the Claimant may not be adequately compensated. A Claimant with life changing injuries is likely to be financially dependent on the lump sum awarded for the rest of their lives. If the rate is set too low, the Claimant could be overcompensated with the taxpayer footing the bill.

So is the Claimant expected to look for riskier investments to achieve a better return and what return can be expected? The balance has to be struck.

The MOJ’s response to the Civil Justice Committee’s recommendations

Claimants have historically been treated as more cautious investors as they are expected to secure their future financial position.

The Government has confirmed that the overriding objective of setting the rate remains to support the 100% compensation rule, i.e that the aim is to neither under-compensate nor over-compensate the Claimant by ensuring that the Claimant receives the money that they are expected to need and that this is fair for both parties.

The Government has highlighted a need for Claimants to move away from a ‘risk-free’ approach which tends to ‘create excessively large awards of damages’ and that this is ‘unrealistic’. At the same time the Government shares the concern of the Committee that the setting of the rate should not result in significant under-compensation for the most vulnerable Claimant.

The government has not dismissed the proposal that setting different rates for different cases may be appropriate.

Although the decision to set the discount rate is likely to continue to rest with the Lord Chancellor, the Government has agreed with the proposal that an expert panel (comprised of an actuary, an economist, an investment manager and an expert in consumer affairs as relating to investments) will assist with the process of setting the rate. The Lord Chancellor’s report and the expert panel’s recommendations would be published at the same time once the rate to be set is decided.

Despite criticism, the government has advised of their intentions to continue to retain the proposed interval of review at 3 years, although it is unclear how this will work in practice given that the discount rate applies to the most serious cases which typically take 3-5 years to conclude.

The Lord Chancellor will however, at least be required to provide the reasons for setting the rate and the soon to be formed expert panel will have a role in analysing the data and considering actual investment behaviour.

The Government is particularly keen to encourage periodical payment orders and that Claimants are adequately advised of these as an option.

 

Following an investigation ordered by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt into the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, inspectors have found that safety in maternity services “needed further improvement” as reported by the BBC.

Seven babies died in a 20-month period between September 2014 and May 2016 and a ninth avoidable baby death was uncovered at the trust by the BBC in June 2017.

The inspectors found that progress had been made at the trust as a whole, but gave it a “requires improvement” rating for being safe, responsive and well-led.

You can read the full story by the BBC here

consultation

Lord Justice Jackson’s review of civil litigation, including a recommendation for fixed recoverable costs in clinical negligence cases up to £25,000, has now been published and can be accessed here.

However the charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) have called the civil litigation review disappointing and are concerned about the effects on patient safety as well as access to justice.

AvMA’s reaction is as follows:

AvMA is disappointed that Lord Justice Jackson’s report  fails to truly recognise the impact that imposing fixed recoverable costs on clinical negligence cases will have.
Although he recommends limiting the fixed costs regime to cases with damages of £25,000 or less, this represents the majority of clinical negligence claims. Included within this are very serious and complex claims including stillbirths and child deaths; negligent neglect of older people and claims for people with mental health and learning disability problems.
Clinical negligence claims are far more complex than personal injury claims and imposing fixed costs – no matter how long and inappropriately the claim has been defended – means that many of the claims will not be feasible. Even if a claimant did find a solicitor to represent them and won, they could end up losing most of their damages to meet costs which traditionally would have been met by the losing side.
Peter Walsh, Chief Executive of AvMA said:
“We are disappointed that Lord Justice Jackson has not accepted the evidence he was given and has not fully appreciated the unique challenge of clinical negligence claims. If fixed costs do go ahead it is imperative at the very least that there are exceptions for all fatal cases, cases including children and adults who lack capacity.
“We welcome the fact that if fixed costs for clinical negligence do go ahead, this should be via a ‘standalone’ scheme developed in collaboration between stakeholders. That is better than the Department of Health simply imposing its own rules.”
AvMA is concerned about the effect of the proposals on patient safety as well as access to justice.
Mr Walsh explained:
“Often it is only through people being able to challenge NHS denials through legal action that the NHS is brought to the realisation that it made mistakes. If people are not able to do that, it will mean opportunities for learning will be lost. Your hospital and mine will be less safe as a result.”

 

A significant number of patients have been recalled as part of an investigation over the treatment given to cancer patients by urologist, and Channel 4’s Embarrassing Bodies’ doctor, Mr Arackal Manu Nair at Solihull Hospital (Heart of England NHS Trust) and the privately-run Spire Parkway Hospital. It is alleged Mr Nair operated on one man who did not have cancer, while leaving another incontinent and infertile.

 

Mr Arackal Manu Nair, otherwise known as Manu was suspended from his post as an NHS Consultant Urologist at Solihull Hospital when colleagues raised their suspicions about his surgery with hospital bosses and he was referred to the General Medical Council. He has subsequently resigned from his post at the Heart of England NHS Trust.

 

Concerns over Mr Nair’s operations have led to a recall of Mr Nair’s prostatectomy patients at Spire Parkway Hospital and BMI Priory Hospital, Birmingham. There are approximately 170 radical prostatectomy patients within the NHS who were treated at Solihull Hospital and Spire Healthcare group. A radical prostatectomy is a common surgical procedure to remove the prostate gland where patients are diagnosed with prostate cancer.

 

We understand that the central issues concern whether patients were properly advised and surgery was undertaken unnecessarily and the degree of the need for surgery. A prostatectomy is a fairly common operation for prostate cancer. It is an extensive operation to remove the whole of the prostate gland, but other treatment options are usually available, all of which should be discussed with the patient.

 

The Independent hospitals and the Heart of England NHS Trust asked the Royal College of Surgeons to review Mr Manu Nair’s surgical practices both in the NHS and the private sector. It was in light of the result of this review from the Royal College of Surgeons that patients were subsequently recalled.

 

The investigation into Mr Manu Nair’s practice has echoes of the investigations into the cases of ‘cleavage-sparing mastectomy’ by disgraced Solihull breast surgeon Mr Ian Paterson who performed hundreds of unrecognised operations at Spire Hospital at the Heart of England NHS Trust that breached medical guidelines and left women at a greater risk of breast cancer returning. Mr Paterson also performed unnecessary mastectomies, telling some patients they had cancer when they did not. Victims of Mr Paterson are stepping up their battle for justice and compensation against the Spire Hospitals by launching a petition. See the link provided for more information.

 

If you are one of the patients who had been recalled you may wish to do the following:

  1. Review the letter you have received following your recall.
  2. Do you wish to take the matter further?
  3. If so would you like an apology and/or compensation?
  4. Have you already lodged a complaint/spoken to solicitors?
  5. Call us to talk through your concerns

 

We would like anybody who was a patient of Mr Manu Nair to be aware of the issues concerning his work and to have the opportunity, not only to be reassured medically, but to be able to make an informed decision on their rights and available actions.

 

If you have been treated by any doctor or clinician either as an NHS patient, or as a private patient, and have concerns relating to your treatment then do not hesitate to contact our Clinical Negligence team for a confidential, no-obligation discussion and free advice.

 

We are able to offer a Conditional Fee Agreement (i.e. no win, no fee) or act under Legal Aid in appropriate circumstances.

 

Roseanne Elkington & Richard Stanford

Clinical Negligence

November 2015

References:

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/heartlands-doctor-who-starred-tvs-10172871

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/news/midlands-news/ian-paterson-cancer-surgery-victims-10101785

http://solihullobserver.co.uk/news/second-solihull-doctor-suspended-and-under-investigation-for-cancer-operations-6894/

http://www.itv.com/news/central/2015-10-01/embarrassing-bodies-cancer-surgeon-suspended-after-investigation-launched-into-treatment-of-patients/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-34418228