Negligence by nurses

Much has been said recently about the standards of care in our society.

“Care in the community”, and “Social Care” are phrases that we often read and hear mentioned, along with the budgetary and other excuses and purported explanations as to why we fare so badly compared to other so-called advanced countries in terms of care.

Caring for the ill and infirm, injured, young and elderly, is something that we might be tempted to take for granted but in reality it is an expensive, sophisticated and complex matter and affects all of us more than we may at first imagine.

From the primary carers that we meet when need a routine medical check, such as a blood test taken by a Nurse Practitioner at our local surgery, or a nurse at the hospital caring for us after an operation, to a midwife during pregnancy and at the birth of one’s child, health visitor in the child’s formative years, to District Nurses, and nurses providing care in residential nursing homes to relatives (or ourselves) we cannot escape them or the fantastic work that they do.

Clinical Negligence

However, sometimes, albeit rarely, things do go wrong.

You may not necessarily think that it was a particular person’s “fault”, for example because he or she was over-worked, stressed, and had more to do than he/she could possibly do however in such situations the inadequacy of the resources may be a failing of management and organisation.

In any event, all professionals, solicitors included, but for present purposes we mean nurses and nursing professionals are required to perform their work to the reasonable, objective standard that the law has set.

It is of no concern to the victim of a breach of that standard that the real, underlying reason for the negligent error or omission was that the unit or organization was under-resourced.

Put as simply as possible, a claim for clinical negligence will lie if the standard of care provided by the nurse fell below the standard that would have been deemed acceptable by a reasonable body of other nurses.

Non-hospital Treatment

As an aside, we are also increasingly being asked to represent victims of unacceptable treatment – we are avoiding the word “care” to illustrate the difference only – in residential homes where for example an elderly person, paying for the privilege of being there, or else at the state’s own cost, has (typically) been left unattended in bed and developed serious bedsores which can be very painful and long lasting and sometimes lead to severe, life threatening complications.

We have been successful in a number of claims in these circumstances.

Examples of potential nursing negligence

Turning back to “nursing care”, what sort of examples can we give about this?

  • fundamentally failing to act upon instructions given by a Doctor
  • acting otherwise than in accordance with such instructions
  • the consequences of failing to record significant information about a person’s medical history or else failing to take account of what has been properly recorded (we have handled a case where a patient who was clearly noted to required to be fed a purely liquid diet was given solids and this led to his death)
  • failing to monitor a person’s condition at sufficiently regular intervals or else act upon adverse signs disclosed during the monitoring process
  • administering the wrong medication or wrong dosage of medication (our team have successfully dealt with a case in which, tragically and completely avoidably, a patient who was recovering after an operation and otherwise healthy, was effectively overloaded with fluids and died)
  • failing to call for additional expert help from a doctor/specialist when necessary
  • using the wrong equipment or else the right equipment in the wrong way

Why Instruct Lloyd Green?

Unlike many other firms that may at first seem attractive but in practice use unqualified staff, Lloyd Green, solicitors, employ only experienced solicitors to handle your claim.

Following an initial sympathetic and entirely confidential discussion with our clinical negligence team, we will advise you as to whether you have a viable claim for compensation, whether on your own behalf or as the representative of the estate of a deceased relative, for instance, and then, working closely with experienced independent clinicians, are confident that we will deal with your claim as swiftly as the legal system can possibly allow.

We will vigorously represent your interests and stand robustly in your corner from start to end of the whole process.
It is always a stressful, indeed distressing, time when contemplating making a claim at all, but we will strive to make this as painless as possible.

For a no obligation, free initial consultation, please call us at your complete convenience and we will lead you through what is required to either make an informal internal complaint to the organization in question, or otherwise to institute a legal claim.

In the case of the latter, all nursing negligence claims that we handle are on a strict “no win, no fee” basis so you need have no concerns on that subject either.