The human body is an incredible piece of machinery, and has the ability to do some amazing things; repair itself when injured; fight off disease; create new life; survive in adverse conditions and so on.

This is why it is so important to look after our bodies, after all, we only get one! When nature needs a helping hand and medical treatment is required, we place our bodies within the trusted hands of a healthcare practitioner, be it NHS or private. During these times, we shouldn’t have to worry about additional health issues materialising whilst we are receiving treatment for the original condition, but unfortunately, sometimes this happens. When this is the case and things do go wrong, it is important to know your rights.

Every healthcare practitioner, whether they are:

  • Surgeons
  • Nurses
  • Physiotherapists
  • GP’s
  • Dentists

Have a ‘duty of care’ to uphold whilst you have been placed under their care. Sometimes, largely due to human error, standards slip and accidents happen. It is this breach of the ‘duty of care’ which leads to negligent behaviour and the unnecessary suffering of patients. In most cases, the mishaps could have easily been prevented.

Medical negligence – also known as clinical negligence – comes in many guises.

The most common reported claims pertaining to medical negligence include:

  • Surgical errors leading to excess scarring and surplus pain
  • Birthing injuries – injury incurred by mother or baby during pregnancy and/or labour
  • HIA – Hospital Acquired Infection. This includes contraction of a disease/virus during your hospital stay i.e. MRSA – the potentially fatal and extremely contagious virus
  • Needlestick injuries
  • Misdiagnosis or delay in diagnosis leading to the deterioration of patients’ condition and even death
  • Wrongful prescription or administration of medication leading to complications including side effects. This includes anaesthesia neglect leading to the deterioration of a patients’ condition and even death

This list is by no means exclusive, as all manners of an accident can occur in such dynamic and busy settings (such as hospitals) and so medical negligence encompass a large umbrella of problems.

It is your body, and you should always be in control, but when someone jeopardises that control and leaves you vulnerable, you must be sure of what action you can take. If you have been unfortunate enough to experience any of the above-listed accidents yourself, or indeed have sustained an injury due to some other kind of medical negligence, you are likely to be able to claim compensation. The key point to remember is that if you have incurred any sort of injury, be it physical or psychological, at the hands of a healthcare practitioner you are likely to be eligible.

It is your right, as injury cannot only cause physical suffering, it can also take its toll your emotional being, and subsequently leave you financially exposed – due to loss of earnings, medical treatment and so on. In making a claim, you will not only get peace of mind through justice prevailing and financial settlement but also actively play a part in preventing similar incidents happening in the future.

If you have been injured at the hands of a healthcare professional – NHS or private – within the last three years, you are likely to be eligible for compensation.