By Renu Daly, Solicitor specialising in cases of clinical negligence at Neil Hudgell Solicitors
AS specialists in medical negligence, when individuals and families turn to our firm for support and advice, they are often facing some of the most difficult times of their lives.
Often people have suffered life-changing illnesses or injuries, or we are comforting families who have had loved ones suddenly taken from them.
Our involvement of course means there is a suggestion – or in some cases already an admission – of poor treatment, care, or even criminal activity contributing to that suffering or loss.
At present, my work has brought me into contact with many families experiencing hugely difficult times.
I am representing a family still trying to come to terms with losing their seemingly fit and healthy husband, father and grandfather to a heart condition. He had visited hospital two days before he died complaining of serious chest pains, but was diagnosed with a ‘virus’ and sent home.
I am also currently supporting a woman whose mother was tragically given the wrong medication at a pharmacy and died as a result – an unimaginable way for a much-loved grandmother to be taken away from her family.
More recently, we at Neil Hudgell Solicitors have come into contact with a number of families with children who suffered at the hands of Dr Myles Bradbury, the Cambridgeshire cancer specialist who was jailed for 22 years this week for sexually abusing gravely ill boys in his care over a four-and-a-half-year period.
These are all cases where first and foremost, the people we are representing have not come to us solely for legal advice.
Yes, that is what they ultimately need, but in fact, they turn to us first of all because in most cases they have found very few people willing to listen to them, and even fewer willing to give them answers to serious questions.
They need someone to understand their distress, their frustrations and share their sorrow. They need someone on their side.
When handling these cases it becomes abundantly clear that my performance as a solicitor will never simply be judged on the final outcome, or the size of number on any settlement figure we achieve for clients.
Families have lost loved ones, terminally ill children have been abused. It is never about money when these people seek help.
As part of our role, we do of course do all we can to secure the maximum compensation, and in cases such as those involving the victims of Bradbury, claims will be made to compensate them fully for their suffering at his hands, and to cover the counselling needed to help them live with, and hopefully overcome, the psychological damage they have suffered.
These are challenging times for families. Their worst times. They want to be listened to, understood, and cared for.
They have already been badly let down already, and we know the legal profession must support them, and ultimately hold those responsible to account.