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It is widely acknowledged that Accident and Emergency staff work hard to provide good care in a high-pressure environment where time can be of the essence. The treatment provided is often life-saving. However, mistakes and errors in A&E departments can and do happen and you are entitled to receive good care in spite of the demands of the staff in the unit.
Serious medical consequences can ensue if there is an error within the accident and emergency department of a hospital and it can often become a life and death situation if you are not given the care you need. If you have not received the standard of care you are entitled to and you have suffered as a result, you could be able to make a valid medical negligence claim.
Current government targets dictate that 98% of patients admitted to accident and emergency need to be treated within four hours in England and Scotland. Response times for heart attack and life-threatening emergencies are eight minutes with 75% of ambulance call-outs being reached within this time.
Jefferies Solicitors are experienced medical negligence lawyers. If you come to us with your claim, we will provide an initial consultation to work out whether or not you are entitled to personal injury compensation. The vast majority of our work is carried out on a no win, no fee basis.
If you have been injured because of an accident and emergency error, the results can have a knock-on effect on your family members. Our solicitors always ensure that they listen to the individuals and families who have been affected, so they can tell us the full story; having the complete picture allows us to offer the most helpful advice.
In some instances, interim payments can be made in cases where you are unable to pay for bills because of a loss of earnings or if you or a family member is in need of immediate medical care.
Below are some of the common errors that occur in accident and emergency.
According to government targets, if you have been admitted to accident and emergency then you must be seen by a doctor within four hours of arriving and registering. Sometimes patients must also receive further tests before they are admitted into hospital. If this has not happened and you have suffered as a result, then it is possible you could make a medical negligence claim.
Triage nurses are those in charge of acquiring medical information from walk-in patients before any treatment or advice has been given. The triage staff need to determine which case is a priority and which isn’t, in terms of the severity of any symptoms. Triage is most helpful when resources are low and when people cannot be attended to immediately.
There are different levels of urgency referred to by triage nurses. These include those that require immediate resuscitation; those who are seriously ill; cases that are urgent but where the patient is stable and patients who are ill but not in danger and non-urgent cases.
Doctors must be aware of your medical history so that the correct treatment can be given. When examining a patient in A&E, they should also take blood pressure and check any existing medication. When doctors are looking into treatments, they must make a decision based on these factors. If this is not done properly, they could fail to provide a correct diagnosis; symptoms may be missed or incorrect tests and scans may be undertaken. If medical history is not checked thoroughly, it can also give rise to prescription errors, e.g. prescribing the wrong dosage or the wrong kind of drug or something a patient could be allergic to.
In some cases, it can also be negligent if a second opinion is not sought, often in complex medical cases. Giving a wrong diagnosis or failing to make a diagnosis at all e.g. if the early symptoms of a heart attack are not seen or noted, can also be grounds for clinical negligence, as can sending a patient home without the correct treatment.
There are a number of different kinds of conditions and injuries that commonly arise from mistakes that have happened in A and E and for which you may be able to make accident and emergency claims for compensation. Some of these are listed below:
Accident and Emergency departments are well-known medical settings where many clinical negligence cases can begin. The prospect of making a personal injury claim can seem stressful and worrying but you are entitled to good care and if you have suffered through lack of it, you are entitled to compensation.
There are time limits for making claims. This is usually three years from the date you had knowledge of your injury or condition. It is, therefore, advisable to begin your claim as soon as you can.
Accident and Emergency also includes the ambulance service. Sometimes there are cases in which an ambulance does not arrive on time, does not arrive quickly enough, does not arrive at all or if there may be more injuries endured on the way to hospital. It could be argued that in all these situations, negligence has occurred.
Many people who are seeking compensation are also in pursuit of an apology from the party at fault. Making a complaint about a service from the NHS is something our solicitors at Jefferies can help you with. There is a specific process that you will need to go through to acquire an official apology from a medical body and we can guide you through this process, from start to finish.
Sometimes, if you have not received the response you wanted, it is appropriate to launch an Independent Inquiry. This can be done through the Health and Service Ombudsman. In more serious cases, the General Medical Council can be approached, this is a body that is able to discipline doctors and can stop them from practising in the future.
If a child has been injured in accident and emergency, you can make a claim on their behalf. If you do this you become what is known as a ‘litigation friend’ in law. In this role, your responsibility is to provide instructions based on the best interests of the child who has been injured.
We can help you with the practical side of making a claim for a child through the Court of Protection to help manage the finances of a child who has suffered a serious injury. We can also help with setting up a Personal Injury Trust from the compensation received.
If you think you could have a valid claim, please get in touch with our no win, no fee solicitors at Jefferies. Call us on our national accident helpline number or complete our online claim form.