Misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of cancer are unfortunately common, and patients who are not accurately and promptly diagnosed may suffer devastating consequences. Whole families can be turned upside down when a doctor fails to diagnose a potentially terminal illness.
The NHS classes some hospital errors as serious incidents. These include medication errors, equipment failure, pressure sores, infections, trips, slips and falls. NHS rules call for a full investigation of serious incidents.
Because we as patients trust them with our lives, we should be able rest assured that hospital theatre staff are dedicated to protecting our health and are properly educated and trained to operate medical equipment. Unfortunately, however, preventable failings do occur because of inadequate training, and patients consequently suffer injuries that could last a lifetime.
More than seven years ago, a 39-year-old father suffering from severe breathing difficulties sought medical treatment at a hospital in Harrogate. It was discovered that the breathing difficulties were due to epiglottitis, a rare throat disorder.
Disturbing reports continue to emerge around an NHS hospital in Essex. It has been alleged that Colchester General Hospital tampered with cancer data, and the Care Quality Commission has begun investigating allegations that the hospital tampered with waiting-time data to meet target figures.
With fewer hospital beds and lower budgets, a disturbing medical trend has emerged in the NHS: sending patients home from hospital before it is safe to do so. In fact, Dame Julie Mellor, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said her organization is "increasingly concerned about patients being discharged unsafely from hospital." She added that keeping costs low appeared to have been a motivation to discharge some patients early.
In one of our recent posts, we discussed a negligence claim launched against a London cosmetic surgeon who famously performed a breast enlargement operation on live television. The complaint against the surgeon is not in relation to that procedure but to a tummy-tuck surgery that the patient claims went wrong.
If you choose to undergo cosmetic surgery, then you undoubtedly expect the surgeon to warn you of any possible side effects or complications. Often patients must review and sign consent forms that describe such complications so that patients are fully aware of the risks. Individuals who undergo cosmetic surgery should also expect to have follow-up consultations with the surgeon to ensure that problems, if they arise, are properly monitored and addressed.
In one of our recent posts, we discussed an egregious surgical error that occurred at Royal Liverpool Hospital in Merseyside. A patient was in hospital for a minor urological procedure, but a surgeon mistakenly performed a vasectomy. You can read more about the incident here.
At the inquest into the little girl's death, the assistant coroner for Warwickshire said that doctors "missed opportunities to diagnose and treat" the child but that "it has not been possible to conclude the causative impact of each missed opportunity."