Hudgell Solicitors has been named as the UK Clinical Negligence Law Firm of the Year in a new guide to the best legal practices across the globe.
The accolade has come in ‘The 2017 Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards’ and follows a string of highly significant settlements on behalf of seriously injured clients over the past 12 months.
Lawyer Monthly says the awards recognise firms which have ‘dedicated their resources to innovation, built on their depth of expertise, and performed outstandingly over the year.’
Less than 30 UK firms were selected for awards in their specialist areas of work.
In its special 2017 awards publication, it says: “Recognising the sheer hard work and dedication of those in the legal industry is of utmost importance; from the vast amount of hours put in to help clients, all the way to being ahead of the game to win each legal battle, our 2017 Legal Awards aims to unveil the best in the legal industry.”
Multi-million pound settlements secured in medical negligence cases involving life-long injuries
Hudgell Solicitors’ teams based in London, Leeds and Hull have provided support to clients across England and Wales throughout 2017, seeking not only to secure maximum damages and programmes of rehabilitation support, but also to constantly challenge procedural failures and errors in healthcare, calling for important changes to be made.
Over the past 12 months the firm has won cases on behalf of clients relating to birth negligence and leading to long-term, life-changing injury, the late diagnosis or misdiagnosis of life-threatening conditions including sepsis and meningitis, and wholly avoidable medical errors which have caused serious injuries and death.
Chris Moore, joint head of Clinical Negligence at Hudgell Solicitors, said: “We are delighted to have been recognised for our expertise and success in this area of work. The Lawyer Monthly Legal Awards recognises firms who have delivered exceptional results for their clients over the past 12 months and that has certainly been the case for Hudgell Solicitors in 2017.
“Over the past year we have secured a number of multi-million pound settlements for our medical negligence clients, highlighting many cases and areas of concern in the national media and supported campaigns to help raise awareness around the serious consequences of misdiagnosis.
“We are delighted that we have been recognised for our legal expertise, and our dedication to do more for our clients.”
Firm remains committed to ‘seeing the person, not just the claim’
Staying true to the promise of ‘seeing the person, not just the claim’, Hudgell Solicitors supported client Gaynor McConnell to launch her own meningitis awareness website in memory of her one-year-old son Cayden.
Gaynor was repeatedly told by doctors that there were no major concerns over Cayden’s health after he overcame meningitis at just four months of age.
However, doctors missed evidence of him having a dermoid tumour at the time, and as no action was taken, Cayden became seriously ill from meningitis a second time seven months later, and died as a result.
In a bid to help other parents to spot symptoms early, ask more questions of doctors and to trust their own instincts over their children’s health, Hudgell Solicitors supported Gaynor in establishing her website, which has received wide support from other parents.
Over the past 12 months, other cases worked on by the Hudgell team have brought multi-million pound damages settlements, and led to changes in hospital procedures to improve future care.
The firm secured a £14.3m settlement for a boy left brain damaged when midwives at Hemel Hempstead Hospital failed to properly monitor his heart-rate during birth, leading to him being starved of oxygen.
The boy, now 17, needed resuscitating after being born and suffered brain damage and unable to do care for himself.
The case followed another settlement worth around £8m for a teenage girl left with lifelong injuries from errors made during her mother’s pregnancy.
Following approval of the settlement at the High Court, an initial damages payment of £2m was paid into a trust, with further annual payments to be made each year of her life to cover an ongoing dedicated case manager to oversee her many support needs. Should she live into her mid-80s, as expected, the payments will total around £8m.
Cases have led to changes in procedure to better protect future patients
Cases in which Hudgell Solicitors have represented families have also led to major investigations into practices at health trusts and changes in procedures.
An NHS England investigation was launched when John Haughey, 76, died after drinking hand gel from the bottom of his hospital bed when confused. As a result of the case, redesigns of bottles to limit the amount they dispense, and new protocols for medical professionals to follow should similar incidents happen, are being considered.
Lessons were also learned as a result of another tragic case in which a woman whose family had a history of heart disease died of severe heart failure when pregnant with twins.
Despite the family medical history being recorded in her medical notes, that detail was not transferred onto the electronic systems due to a ‘memory lapse’, meaning midwives and doctors were unaware of the matter throughout her pregnancy.
As a result of the case, details of the mistake were circulated across the NHS nationally, with the Trust involved also reminding all staff of the need to accurately transfer all hand-held records onto its electronic system.
Mr Moore added: “Our work has gone well beyond securing financial settlements.
“Whilst it has been a truly significant year in terms of the growth of our clinical negligence department and the scale of cases we have been successfully settling with frequency, it has been our continued commitment to excellent client service which has ensured we have cemented our position as one of the top 150 UK law firms.”