In the UK, the standard of NHS and private healthcare is high and so the majority of patients pass through GP surgeries and hospitals without incident. But unfortunately, mistakes can still occur and if your diagnosis or treatment has had a negative outcome as a result of poor practice, you may be entitled to compensation.
We have previously covered which evidence you need to bring a successful clinical negligence claim. To prove clinical negligence, it must be shown that a healthcare professional failed in his or her duty to take care of their patient, resulting in a poorer medical outcome. Patients may experience physical, mental or financial damage and loss.
In certain scenarios such as a mistake in an operation or a misdiagnosis, it can be clear when a health professional or system failed to demonstrate a duty of care. But it’s not always as clear-cut or obvious. Medical processes can be complex, and if you or a loved one are receiving treatment, it is likely to be a very busy and stressful period of time, so the idea of making a claim is unlikely to be top of your priority list.
However, if something has gone wrong, you deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you have experienced.
So how do you know if you have a clinical negligence claim? A clinical negligence solicitor will be able to determine whether you have a strong case, but before you get to that point, there are some red flags to look out for that may help you to identify is something isn’t right.
Your symptoms are worsening, or you notice new symptoms
If you have been diagnosed and prescribed medication with a treatment plan but notice your symptoms have been worsening, rather than improving, this may be an indicator that something is wrong.
Furthermore, if you have started a treatment plan for a diagnosed condition but are now noticing new symptoms that were not present before, this could also mean you were misdiagnosed.
The same goes for symptoms after a surgery or procedure. It is common for healthcare professionals to brief patients on possible side effects of surgeries, and you will often need to sign a form to show that you acknowledge the potential risks. But this isn’t a blank cheque. Any unexpected developments following a procedure may still be a red flag and should be addressed.
Your second opinion is wildly different
If you feel uneasy or uncertain about your initial diagnosis or treatment, there is no reason why you cannot seek a second opinion. And if you find that your second opinion differs greatly from your original diagnosis, there may be a chance you have encountered a form of medical malpractice and it is worth investigating further.
There is a lack of communication and unwillingness to answer questions about your condition
As a patient it is your right to have a thorough understanding about the treatment, care or medication that you are receiving. Of course, you may not have the same degree of expert insight into the complexity around specific treatments, but you are allowed to ask questions, no matter how silly you think they may be.
Medical professionals are extremely busy people but they should be willing to arrange a time to fully explain your treatment plan. If they are unwilling to do so, then this could be a warning sign.
Many may feel uncomfortable about making a claim against a medical professional or organisation, but that doesn’t mean that errors shouldn’t be addressed, to ensure that you receive compensation for unnecessary harm and distress caused, but also to make sure that the same mistake doesn’t happen to others.
At RHL Solicitors, we understand that no one would wish to begin the long and emotional journey of claiming damages against the medical profession without good cause. However, it’s crucial to ensure you get the expert legal advice and support you need.
If you feel like your health has been adversely affected by negligent healthcare, contact our expert clinical negligence team here who will be more than happy to discuss the matter further.
RHL Solicitors will have no delays or waiting times in advising you on your situation and will be quick to get you the support and care you deserve.