Teen wins right to medical negligence award from NHS

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 14 April 2015:

A teenager tragically injured due to medical negligence has won the right to seek personal injury compensation from the NHS for his catastrophic injuries.

The 17 year old, whose name is of course being withheld from the press for legal and privacy reasons, ended up suffering from acute cerebral palsy shortly after his birth whilst still in hospital. The poor boy is affected in all four of his limbs, negating his ability to ever live independently, and according to Judge Graham Robinson from the High Court in London there’s no way he would ever be able to live his life without substantial care going forward.

The teenager’s parents called on the judge to approve a settlement, which has now opened the path for a complete assessment of how much he would be able to receive on his personal injury compensation claim. The lad’s personal injury solicitors fingered Barnsley District Hospital for his injuries, pointing out that failing to treat the teen’s blood disorder in a timely manner after his birth was the cause of his disability.

True to form, Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said there was no way they could be liable for the 17 year old’s injuries. However, Judge Robinson has decided to push for a settlement now instead of letting the case proceed to trial, which would of course be long and drawn-out, costing both sides shedloads of cash in the process. The compromise, the judge said, would benefit both parties the most – so now the teenager can look forward to at least some sort of compensation sooner rather than later from the NHS.

Honestly I hope he gets millions from those incompetent bastards. The poor lad has acute cerebral palsy, for pity’s sake! Do you have any idea how absolutely debilitating a condition like that actually is? There’s no way he’d be able to live anything even approaching a normal life without round the clock care, and that costs incredible, mind-boggling amounts of money. The only other option would be him relying on his parents, who would eventually pass on before him and leave him stuck in a hellish nightmare of a life.

Let’s just hope the NHS takes all this into account before it tries to buy the poor teen off with an unacceptably low compensation settlement.

Millions in compensation in medical negligence case

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 16 Dec 2014:

I can’t think of anything more potentially heartbreaking than a medical negligence claim – especially when it comes to claims made on behalf of children.

If there’s one region of personal injury compensation law that is most heart-wrenching it’s got to be instances of children being hurt or injured for life because of a botched medical procedure in their youth or during birth. Such a story tugs on the heartstrings of even the most jaded, grizzled personal injury solicitor – and these stories usually ends with massive personal injury compensation claims that are meant to make the injured child’s life somewhat more bearable, but it’s cold comfort in many cases.

In fact, there was a particular instance this week where  teenager from Northern Ireland ended up with a massive £8 million compensation award after he was improperly cared for as a little baby. The boy, who had been in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital shortly after his birth to treat an infection ended up with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy because medical staff hadn’t cared for him properly. To make matters worse, the poor lad also has learing difficulties and epilepsy as a result.

Can you imagine having your life completely changed by poor medical care so badly that the courts see fit to award you £8 million? I don’t know if I could. What I can say is that while I’m absolutely heartbroken at the poor lad having to go through years of physical issues and learning disabilities, at least he should be set for life with such a massive compensation award. This should allow the teenager’s future home to be constructed with an eye towards the many accommodations he will need, not to mention the round the clock care that his injuries and ailments require.

Still, it’s cold comfort. I’m sure that the lad and his family would give up all that cash in a moment if it meant returning him to full health. That’s never going to happen of course – and it’s part of the tragedy that surrounds medical negligence cases – but at least he can be kept in relative comfort and with the security of knowing that there’s money for his needs for the rest of his life.

Payouts on injuries both large and small abound

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 4 Mar 2014:

This week, the news is positively filled with stories about personal injury compensation amounts both impressively large and modestly small in comparison.

In fact, when it comes to modest personal injury claims, it turns out that 23 year old Dominic Zyntek from Coventry prevailed in his case after being injured badly by electrocution whilst on the Pride of Hull ferry. Mr Zyntek, a musician that been asked to play on the ferry with the rest of his covers band. Mr Zyntek ended up with horrific burns to his hands that precluded him from playing for a terribly long time; the massive electric shock also effectively destroyed his guitar as well.

Luckily, Mr Zyntek’s personal injury solicitors saw him compensated with £6,400 in damages. Personally I would have liked  bit more if it was me getting bloody electrocuted but then again I shouldn’t be greedy. Still it’s better than nothing, even if it is a bit of a modest award!

Of course if you’re looking for more weighty awards, why not try on the £40,000 for size that Ray and Marie Ferguson recently received?  All you need to do is have your child die in hospital after having her appendix removed. The death of nine year old Raychel Ferguson was ruled to be due to medical negligence.

Still, how much is a human life worth, especially the life of a child? Doesn’t this seem like a pittance to pay grieving parents, especially in light of how the NHS Trust admitted liability in the case according to court documents? It’s a bit of a travesty if you ask me, and the Trust should be ashamed at not only having the incident occur in the first place but also by offering such an insultingly low compensation award as well.

So I suppose that in the grand scheme of things the Fergusons would much rather have their child back instead of that  £40,000. Barring that, the NHS should pay much more dearly for their deadly mistake – especially a mistake they freely admit to have made! It’s bloody criminal if you ask me.

Poor maintenance and training driving injury claims up

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 7 Jan 2014:

The Government is always quick to blame ambulance chasing personal injury solicitors on raising claims figures, but it’s not always that cut and dry.

In fact, there are plenty of fingers pointing at local councils and Government-run service providers as being the ones responsible for high personal injury compensation awards lately. Don’t believe me? Well think about this: a new story broke this week about how something like £300,000 in damages has been paid out to school teachers and college lecturers in Scotland as a result of poorly-maintained schools over the last year.

The Educational Institute of Scotland published figures lately that specified how the lion’s share of injuries suffered by staff in schools north of the border are due to injuries such as slips and trips. School grounds in bad repair are almost exclusively the culprit. This isn’t to say that there are some other issues at play – one poor teacher ended up so injured after an assault by a student that he ended up with a £130,000 personal injury compensation claim – but the majority is still absolutely due to these schools not being refurbished or maintained properly.

So where’s the blame lie here? Can you really tell me that it’s injury lawyers running up large legal bills on the backs of spurious personal injury claims? Don’t be daft – these injuries are real and they’re only happening because of the poor conditions teachers and lecturers are working in. Even the instances of assault could be due to lax security measures in these schools – and that’s all on the local authorities that are responsible for these schools and no one else.

So that’s a local problem, you say. Well what about a more general one? Like, oh I don’t know – perhaps the entire NHS in Wales shelling out over £117 million in medical negligence claims over the last three years? The NHS isn’t getting out of this one, though – doctors and medical staff aren’t getting the training they need, and they’re certainly not being given the right amount of time off to recover from long, grueling work shifts.

It’s especially bad for junior doctors, who commonly work 12 to 16 hour shifts for up to two weeks at a time without any sort of relief. Are you telling me this is truly the best way to do things? Did no one think this would lead to horrible medical injuries from exhausted staff? Bloody idiots.

Millions leaving coffers of NHS and local authorities

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 1 Oct 2013:

Whether it’s a local authority or it’s the NHS, it’s been bad news for taxpayers as millions of pounds flow out to pay for countless personal injury claims.

Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t think that personal injury solicitors are going around chasing ambulances or that people with legitimate injuries shouldn’t be awarded personal injury compensation – far from it. What I am saying is that there’s something wrong with the way these organisations are being administrated if there’s so much damned dosh leaking out from every available breach.

I mean let’s look at Leeds City Council, for instance! Did you know that the cost to the local taxpayer is £3 annually because of all the compensation claims made against the local authority? Well it’s true, according to a recent report – and the lion’s share of injuries stem potholes or slips, trips and falls. It’s gotten so bad that the council is looking into drafting local laws to cut down on the number of accident claims, which I think is rubbish – shouldn’t the focus instead be on rooting out the reasons these incidents are occurring and doing your best to stamp them out? Am I alone here in thinking this?

Of course, the legal bills for Leeds City Council pale in comparison to those faced by the NHS. In fact, it became known this week that a medical negligence claim for a little girl who suffered oxygen deprivation during her delivery wrapped up, with the family earning a lump sum payment of £1.96 million – and as much as £4.5 million in yearly payments.

Again I’m not going to say this little girl – who just turned ten years old – doesn’t need all the help she can get. She’s living with some serious, life-changing disabilities thanks to the injuries she suffered at birth, and needs round the clock care. No, what I’m upset about is how things like this keep happening in NHS hospitals. What is wrong with the medical staff in this country that these horrors keep occurring? Leave off the monetary cost – which is bloody great indeed – what about the human cost? Someone train these medical staff better so that they’re not bollixing up these procedures and destroying the lives of innocent Brits left and right.

Medical negligence grips Midlands and South London

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 24 Sept 2013:

Either personal injury lawyers are getting better or medical staff are getting worse, because medical negligence claims are going through the roof.

In fact, if you were a medical negligence lawyer working in either Staffordshire or the Midlands last year,  you most likely had a banner year, considering how there were some £65,000 paid out in personal injury compensation every single day on average! That’s something like £23.6 million paid out by the NHS, and once you take into account things like court costs and legal fees, this total was even higher – around £34 million.

So what’s causing all the problems? Are Brits becoming more sickly? Perhaps its ambulance-chasing injury lawyers? No, most likely not – for what it’s worth the real culprit here is most likely overworked, exhausted hospital staff making sometimes life-changing or even fatal mistakes; medical staff – especially junior doctors – can work upwards of 100 hours a week thanks to the mismanagement of the NHS, so what do you expect when someone bollixes up some poor bastard’s medical procedure and amputates the wrong limb?

Speaking of surgical blunders, a consultant gynaecologist that worked just until previously at Sidcup’s Queen Mary’s Hospital, is in some potentially very hot water concerning some surgical practices he was engaged in over the past 10 years.

Rod Irvine had operated upon nearly 2,000 women during his tenure at the hospital. There’s a minimum of 66 women who have run into some very suspicious health problems that, barring Mr Irvine’s tender ministrations, may never have occurred in the first place. On top of that the South London Healthcare Trust has actually excluded Mr Irvine recently while a formal investigation is undertaken. This raises a red flag to me, and probably to all those poor women who are now wondering just what this man might have done to them whilst they were out on the operating table.

Could you imagine if the investigation bears fruit? What kind of person could we have here working on women that trusted his medical judgment and expertise? I can only hope that those poor women aren’t affected as badly as they fear they might have been – it’s bad enough to have medical issues but even worse when they’re just exacerbated by a bungling medical professional!

Stuck in between fraud and negligence

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 20 Aug 2013:

Personal injury solicitors aren’t the only ones that work overtime – both fraudsters and junior doctors have been burning the midnight oil this week!

So you’re probably wondering just what in the world one has to do with another, aren’t you? Well, not necessarily much until you realise that while one group works to profit off false and spurious personal injury claims, the other is trying their damnedest to not end up causing the kind of bodily harm that results in a massive medical negligence claim.

Did you know, for instance, that a bus driver was caught working with a ring of ‘crash for cash’ scammers in an attempt to walk off with shedloads of cash from more than two dozen whiplash injury claims? It’s true, and lucky for the bus company’s insurer that they investigated fully before signing off on all those claims, eh?

Adam Herbert, a bus driver from Sheffield, actually pranged a car from behind intentionally. The collision was low-speed, but he arranged it beforehand with the gang of 26 fraudsters so that they would know when to board the bus – the problem was that normally that bus usually has less than 10 passengers at that particular time of day, and the insurers got more than a little suspicious when it turns out there were somewhere between 30 and 40 passengers that day, not to mention that the lion’s share suddenly had stiff necks!

I swear people are just so stupid. Did they really think this scheme of theirs was going to work? It’s like they’re all suffering from brain trauma, which leads me to my next point: junior doctors in the UK have spoken out recently, reporting that they’re positively terrified of inadvertently causing injury to their patients that could lead to costly personal injury compensation claims being made against their hospitals.

The problem is that these junior doctors are, apparently, being worked much too hard. 100 hour weeks and rotations lasting 10 days long are sadly all too common for junior doctors or even medical students in their last year, and this takes a toll on a human being.

Hopefully their complaints will be heard and addressed. The last thing anyone needs is to be afraid to go to hospital because they suspect a sleep-deprived and exhausted junior doctor could end up making a mistake with their treatment and causing serious or even irreparable harm; with any luck, these issues will be resolved and NHS hospitals will be a bit safer in the future!

Whose fault is it anyway?

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 23 July 2013:

This week, the debate may be raging on over who’s to blame for the so-called ‘compensation culture’ in the UK but there are still plenty of valid claims.

The Association of British Insurers just absolutely love to trot out figures from a research study that says personal injury claims figures have gone up by something like 60 per cent since 2006 when it comes to road traffic accidents, even though the number of reported collisions has fallen by 20 per cent over that same period of time. The ABI blames ‘ambulance-chasing’ personal injury solicitor firms on inflating claims figures in order to pad their own bank accounts, but injury solicitors are striking back against the ABI’s allegations.

Many legal experts say that the ABI is blowing things out of proportion to throw the scent off the trail of insurance providers that inflate the costs of premiums any way they can. Official figures do say that claims volume has decreased by some 60,000 over the past 12 years, and on top of that the ABI’s figures may be woefully out of date.

So who do we believe? Are there these nefarious, mustache-twirling villainous lawyers out there, convincing otherwise honest Brits to commit fraud for a few extra pounds like the ABI says? Something tells me that it’s just not that cut-and-dried; besides there are plenty of other things driving accident claims, such as in the medical negligence field.

I mean, let’s look at the facts here: there’s been a more than 20 per cent rise in claims made against the NHS, according to official figures. Nearly one out of every five pounds the NHS budgeted last year – some £22.7 billion – went to personal injury compensation payouts during the 2012-2013 financial year, according to the NHS Litigation Authority, which was a result of the 16,000 angry and hurt patients seeking compensation after coming to harm whilst in hospital or under the care of an NHS physician.

This figure grew by about 2,500 patients year-on-year, the NHS says, indicating that either people are getting more frail or the level of care being administered by health professionals in this country is on the decline. Honestly, I’m going to suspect the latter before I do the former; yes there’s always the curious effect an economic downturn has on legal matters – people tend to make claims a bit more quickly when the economy is poor and money is tight – but when you’ve got so many medical negligence claims being made there’s absolutely something amiss in NHS facilities all over the country, if you ask me!

I don’t know if I want to be the lawyer on this case

Personal injury news roundup: 7 days ended 19 Feb 2013:

Now, personal injury solicitors get a bit of a bad reputation, but they put up with a lot – like the legal team for these men that lost the wrong testicle!

I’m not a surgeon, but I do know my left from my right. However, doctors working for the National Health Service seem to have a massive problem here, considering that more than £1 million in personal injury compensation has been made over the past four years to men who have gone under the knife, only to realise upon coming out of surgery that the idiots in charge took the wrong testicle!

Can you imagine the rage and shame you would feel after finding out that not only do you need to have one of your testicles removed for medical reasons but that your ‘trusted’ surgeon completely bungled it? I can’t even begin to think about what the aggrieved patient would tell to a medical negligence lawyer.

To make matters worse, the data released by the NHS Litigation Authority detailed how many incidents have occurred over the past four years. Brace yourself, blokes, because you’re probably going to wince at this figure: there were fifty six claims of either men being told they needed testicular surgery only to discover afterwards that it was unnecessary or that they had a need to remove one testicle only to have the wrong one surgically removed – that’s a lot of testicles!

Apparently the average price of one lost or misplaced testicle is around £20,000, as that was the average compensation payout made to the unfortunate men who had to suffer through the indignity. However, in cases of men who were left without the ability to have children were given much more, with instances of as much as £70,000 handed over for the supreme affront to masculinity.

It’s absolutely mind-boggling that mistakes such as these could not only be made but happen so many times in just the past four years, doesn’t it? Not only that, but £20,000 for a lost testicle seems to be (ahem) a low-ball figure. I swear if something like this happened to me I don’t think I’d settle for just few thousand quid in compensation!

I can’t even begin to think of another news story to review this week, not in the wake of this awful, cringe-worthy news.

£4.5m in medical negligence claims awarded by NHS Trust

The West Suffolk NHS Trust paid out in excess of £4.5 million in medical negligence compensation over the course of 2011, according to personal injury claims figures released by the organisation recently.

Most of us can’t even imagine getting our hands on that much cash, but personal injury solicitors have prevailed on behalf of their claimants to that collective tune after receiving sub-standard treatment at West Suffolk Hospital throughout the past year. The total legal bill paid out by the NHS trust was a massive £4.63 million.

Most of these personal injury claims originated from incidents leaving newborn infants with birth injuries or adults with complications after surgical procedures, according to the NHS Litigation Authority, based on statistics finding that the highest number of claims involved obstetrics, orthpaedic surgeries, and gynaecology. This newest crop of successful claims has dwarfed both 2010 and 2009 figures, which sat a combined £1.95 million, leading to Suffolk County Council to begin wondering where all their money’s going.

Scuttlebutt says that there will be an investigation into the matter launched by the local authority in the very immediate future, if the words of Suffolk County councillor Alan Murra can be believed. Mr Murry, a member of the council’s health scrutiny committee, said that it’s quite likely that the review will take place, in order to stop the haemorrhaging of cash.

The NHS Trust says it does everything it can to ensure its patients are safe and healthy. Of course sometimes accidents can happen – no one’s denying that – but such a massive increase over the past two years must be driven by something; unless local residents are becoming more frail and prone to complications, there’s not much else to say, is there?

Mum awarded £1m for son’s brain injuries during delivery

One mum from Lancashire has won more than £1 million in personal injury compensation in a recent medical negligence claim for the brain injuries her son sustained during his birth.

Burnley native, Catherine Wilde, gave birth to her son Liam fifteen years ago, but complications during her delivery that were missed by medical staff resulted in the child suffering oxygen deprivation. Liam, who was delivered at the Burnley General Hospital, had pinched his umbilical cord beneath one of his arms, starving him of oxygen and leading to a diagnosis of severe cerebral palsy, which has left the teenager with mobility difficulties and limited communication skills.

Unable to complete simple everyday tasks unaided as a result of his cerebral palsy, Liam relies upon the aid of carers and his family around the clock in order to meet his basic needs. This prompted his mother to seek legal advice from a team of talented personal injury solicitors, who then launched a claim on her behalf against the NHS Trust for East Lancashire Hospitals on the grounds that hospital staff negligence led to Liam’s injuries occurring.

After a recent hearing in London’s High Court, compensation has been awarded to Ms Wilde on behalf of her son, understood to be worth more than £1 million. The award is composed of an initial lump sum payment, which will then be followed by tax free, index linked payments in order to provide for Liam’s lifetime care needs.

The NHS Trust found responsible for Liam’s injuries issued an unreserved apology to both Liam and his mother, wishing them both all the best going forward.

Lawyers making off with the majority of compensation awards?

Reports have been emerging that no win no fee lawyers may be making off with legal fees that positively dwarf their clients’ personal injury compensation awards.

Medical negligence compensation cases were found to be the most lucrative for personal injury solicitors, an example being the £61,268 paid out to the legal team of a family of a patient that died in hospital who only received a £2,000 compensation award. With the fees incurred by the NHS in defending the claim amounting to £31,541, the total cost was in excess of £92,000 – a figure that has left legal experts up in arms.

If that wasn’t bad enough, it was revealed that another case saw the NHS litigation authority billed for more than £200,000 in court costs by personal injury solicitors on a £5,000 negligence claim. The NHS was able to negotiate the legal fees down to £145,000, but with the £32,700 in costs incurred by defending the claim, their total costs were massive in comparison to the actual payout awarded to the claimant.

These ‘extraordinary’ figures are likely to be coming to an end soon, said the Ministry of Justice, thanks to the new Legal Aid Act and the reforms made to no win no fee claims under it.  However, the new Act will not go into effect until April of 2013, which means that up until then, solicitors can continue to charge the NHS Litigation Authority immensely high success fees.

Despite the new limitations to be placed on solicitors, which include limiting their ability to recover success fees from their clients’ compensation payments, there are worries that lawyers will attempt to draw out the length of cases in order to inflate their costs.