Stafford Hospital has graced the headlines for all the wrong reasons many times over the last few years. The Healthcare commission revealed a catalogue of errors and appalling standards that put patients at risk. The most basic elements of care were sadly neglected, calls for help to use the bathroom were ignored and patients were left lying in soiled bedding and sitting on commodes for hours. Some patients were left unwashed for up to a month. Food and drink was left out of reach of patients who had to rely on family members for assistance. Pain relief was provided late or not at all and patients were discharged inappropriately soon. Hygiene standards in particular were appalling with used dressings being left in public areas and families taking it upon themselves to clean toilets for fear of infection.
Tag Archive: hospital
The Liverpool Care Pathway was created to assist the withdrawal of lifesaving treatment in patients who are terminally ill.
It usually involves the withdrawal of nutrition and fluids and increases the amount of sedative and pain relief administered to the patient. If the Care Pathway is initiated and progressed appropriately death usually occurs within 29 hours.
The Liverpool Care Pathway can be used as a structured measure to end the suffering of many terminally ill patients. It is also a way for families to accept that their loved one is about to die. It was created in a Hospital in Liverpool and has been followed by other NHS Trusts over the past 4 years.
A story published in the Mail on Sunday on Sunday 23rd December 2012 revealed the shocking findings that 63% of foreign medical students failed their exams, compared to the 9% of British students that failed.
Success rates are quoted to be so poor that medical associations want doctors to be allowed 6 attempts at passing the tests rather than the current 4 attempts.
There is a lot of coverage in the press and on the news at the moment surrounding the care of thousands of female patients and the cancer treatment that they may have had unnecessarily. This is a worrying discovery. As the story about the surgeon who allegedly mistreated a number of breast cancer patients emerges, the Daily Telegraph reports on the general position regarding unnecessary surgical procedures taking place every day in the UK.
On 9th November 2012 the Daily Telegraph highlights the fact that many doctors do not tell their patients what possible pitfalls there are to the surgical procedure that patient is consenting for. The trust of the medical profession is such that a patient consents to surgery that is considered best for them by the consultant to whom they are referred. The recent discovery of the breast cancer surgeon has highlighted the fact that the surgeon does not always know best.
The article in the Daily Telegraph suggests that when guidance is given to patients about the surgical procedure that they are about to have, they are not adequately informed of all the possible risks. This includes, when a general anaesthetic is required, the risk of death. The Daily Telegraph uses an example that when men are offered prostate surgery for relief of urinary problems, 40% of them will go on to refuse surgery if they are advised that the operation may cause impotence. You can find a link to the story published in the Daily Telegraph here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9665066/Doctors-not-telling-patients-the-pitfalls-of-surgery.html
An important factor of proceeding with surgery is the patient’s lifestyle and what they considered to be important to that lifestyle. The report quotes Dr Clare Gerada, Chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. She says that “Shared decision making improves outcomes and reduces the rate of operations….But the problem nowadays is the NHS is so driven by activity that we sometimes forget the patient”.. This leads us to question does the Doctor really know best? We believe that consent for surgery is a vital step in the whole treatment process. A patient has the right to know what possible complications and side affects can stem from the surgery they are about to have. They also have the right to make an informed choice as to whether they want to proceed with that surgery or not. Without knowing all the pitfalls a patient can never make that informed choice.
The medical negligence team at Neil Hudgell Solicitors have experience of cases where the patient believes they suffered complications or adverse consequences as a result of surgical procedures they would never have gone through with, had they known the risks. If you believe that you, a friend, or family member may have received surgery unnecessarily call our helpline on 0808 252 7043 for further advice.
We have been instructed on a number of cases after families have experienced the devastating loss of a new born child as a result of a mis-managed labour and/or pregnancy.
In the Daily Mail on the 1 November 2012 they reported on a sad story where a mother had fought a two year battle with Milton Keynes Hospital when her baby girl was wrongly certified as being stillborn. In fact her daughter was born via an emergency caesarean section and passed away after only 32 minutes.
This very sad story came when the hospital’s maternity unit was still reeling from criticism into the death of another baby, 4 months earlier.
When an Inquest was finally arranged, the Coroner concluded in his narrative verdict, that had the hospital acted appropriate, by carrying out the emergency caesarean section earlier, their baby girl would have survived on the balance of probabilities.
Following this the Coroner at Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court has order managers to report all stillbirths and neonatal deaths for further investigation. The hospital has also apologised for the distress caused to this family.
This story highlights significant failings at Milton Keynes Maternity Unit at that time. We hope this has led to massive changes within the hospital and raised awareness, leading to fewer avoidable neonatal death cases in the future.
You can find a link to the story here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2226025/They-said-I-insane-I-knew-baby-alive-Mothers-year-battle-hospital-blunders.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490
If you, or a member of your family have been affected by any of the issues raised by this blog then please contact or medical negligence solicitors for further advice on 0808 252 7043
We have been instructed recently on a few cases involving trauma caused by catheters.
When the Daily Mail reported on similar issues this made us consider how often this is occurring. The report states that in 2008 approximately 41-58% of catheters were fitted unnecessarily and, given our experience, we believe this is an ongoing problem.
In the Daily Mail on Tuesday 25th September 2012 they reported on a story where a lady had a catheter fitted without prior consent because it would be “inappropriate” for her to be getting out of bed after surgery. The lady in question was having surgery to deal with a nerve problem in her face and it was not likely that she would be immobile post surgery…. She ended up contracting MRSA and then for the following 3 years suffered ongoing problems with urinary tract infections.
A study published by The National Cancer Intelligence Network reports that almost a third of cancers in the over-70s are only diagnosed when a patient is admitted to hospital as an emergency.
The most frequent cancers in the over-70s to be diagnosed during an emergency admission include 70% of central nervous system cancers (which include brain cancers), 55% of pancreatic cancers and 52% of liver cancers.
The report suggests that for all cancer types, patients were much less likely to be alive a year later if they were diagnosed through emergencies, than if they were diagnosed at an earlier time.
The report highlights not only the need for patients to report any concerning symptoms to their GP, but also the necessity for early recognition by GP’s of symptoms that may indicate a potentially serious condition requiring further investigation.
You can find a link to the full story here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19662456
Many people find themselves having had treatment which they are unhappy with and which clinicians either wont or don’t have the time to explain. This can leave patients and their families, quite rightly, aggrieved and perhaps avoidably anxious.
A good starting point, when you are dissatisfied about your treatment is to make a formal written complaint under the NHS Complaints procedure. This can get you answers in a written response or you may be invited (or can ask) to have a meeting with the doctor or dentist involved so that you can have your concerns answered face-to-face.
So you’re ready to complain, where do you start? Follow our easy to use steps and you’re on your way:
- Find the address of the hospital / GP or dentist on NHS choices at www.nhs.uk and address your letter to the chief executive (if it is a hospital), or the practice manager (if it is a GP or dentist).
- The beginning of the letter should say what you are writing to complain about and asking your letter to be dealt with in line with the NHS Complaints procedure.
- Write a brief outline of what has happened to you including dates of when and where you were seen / treated and the name of the doctor / dentist involved.
- Ask specific questions in numbered bullet points.
- Finish the letter by asking that your questions be responded to using the numbers you have used.
- Telephone the hospital / Surgery or dental practice one week after you send the letter to make sure that it has been received and ask for a written acknowledgment.
You can call Neil Hudgell Solicitors free on 0808 252 7043 if you feel your treatment has been negligent and you would like some guidance on how to go about making a complaint and / or a claim for compensation.
A story published in the Scunthorpe Telegraph on Thursday 13th September 2012 revealed the findings of a new report has highlighted the Trust to have one of the worst ten mortality rates in the country.
The report reveals an additional problem with the Trust that is unfortunately already too familiar to some of our clients…..
Officials are disappointed with the lack of end of life care and the overall experience at Scunthorpe General Hospital. This is something to which we were already aware.
There is again growing concern in the press regarding the increase of needless deaths in hospitals.
In the past week we have posted several blogs dealing with this subject and The Daily Mail on 24 July 2012 printed an article focusing on ‘How hundreds of patients are dying of thirst in hospital’. The story of a 22-year-old who died in hospital from dehydration shocked Britain. But his tragedy is horrifyingly common.
In our 16 July blog we made reference to Kane Gornys tragic experience whilst under the care of the UK’s top teaching hospital. The full events have now been unveiled.
Kane was only 22 years of age and had been admitted to undergo hip replacement surgery. Within three days of admission he died due to neglect by staff at the Trust. The Daily Mail reported that Kane pleaded with staff to provide him with water. Despite this he was ignored. In desperation the 22 year old contacted 999 from his mobile and the policeman who took his call witnessed him shouting to the nursing staff ‘can I have some water?’
Experts have confirmed that the signs of dehydration are easy to recognise. Further the young man had a form of diabetes which caused his body difficulties in respect of retaining fluid. Despite his condition, his pleas for help and the signs of dehydration, the medical staff simply ignored his desperate requests for a glass of water. Instead they sedated Kane without the provision of intravenous fluids and without monitoring him whilst he was unconscious.
This report has shocked the nation and rightly so. When a patient’s death has occurred whilst under the care of a Trust, due to dehydration, surely the following question has to be asked:
If nursing and medical staff are failing to deal with simple daily requests as well as failing to recognise the recognisable symptoms of dehydration, what standard of care is being afforded to those who are more vulnerable and who require higher levels of care? Further, how many more deaths have to occur before action is taken?
It is unjustifiable that a young man, who was immobile whilst recovering from surgery, was allowed to die simply because the nursing and medical staff could not spare a moment to listen to his pleas and provide him with hydration.
It would seem that long gone are the days when a patient could be guaranteed safety and comfort whilst under the care of the NHS.