The Devastating Consequences of Delays in Hospital Treatment
The Care Quality Commission has today highlighted hospital delays getting tests and treatments and poor care of life-threatening conditions such as sepsis.
Its report marks the culmination of three years of new tougher inspections brought in after the Mid Staffordshire hospital scandal.
Through my work with the victims of medical negligence, I have seen first-hand the devastating consequences of delays in hospital treatment.
One of my current cases concerns Miss L-G, who lost her legs after her father was twice turned away from hospital. Miss L-G was eventually admitted to hospital on the third visit. By this time she was suffering from septicaemic shock and multiple organ failure, and it was too late for doctors to save her legs. Her left leg had to be removed above the knee, while her right leg was amputated below the knee. The girl, now aged 9, successfully sued the hospital through her father and judgment has now been entered for damages to be assessed.
A hospital was also ordered to pay circa £2million in compensation after a patient suffered severe brain injury in its care. Mr A was left severely brain damaged as a result of a delay in diagnosis and treatment of a cerebral abscess. The hospital’s negligence left Mr A with cognitive and decision-making difficulties, as well as severe memory problems. It is unsafe for him to live on his own and he is no longer capable of his pre-accident employment or of independent living as a result.
In another case, a mother whose baby was suffering from reduced movement was kept waiting over five hours for an emergency caesarean section. As a result, her baby was born severely distressed and suffered hypoxic brain injury. The claim was heavily contested by the hospital authority but, shortly before trial, it was successfully settled.
If you attend a hospital, or see a doctor, or any other medical practitioner, your problem is usually dealt with very competently. Occasionally, however, things do go wrong, and this can be traumatic not only for the victim but also for the family. In these circumstances clear and expert advice about medical issues and the nature of the medical accident, can offer reassurance to the victim where otherwise there is confusion and uncertainty.