Medical malpractice is a rare phenomenon in the UK. Just a tiny proportion of those who seek treatment through the NHS fall victim to medical negligence. However, with so many millions of people flowing through the system, even an unlikely event can happen a great deal over any given period.
In a medical context, negligence can be hugely consequential. It can leave lives devastated, and place an enormous burden, not just on the individual victims, but on those closest to them.
What are The Impacts of Medical Malpractice on Patients and Their Families?
This burden can take many forms, just as medical negligence itself can take many forms. When trying to determine the appropriate level of compensation, the courts will tend to think about financial hardship, as well as pain and suffering.
The suffering might take the form of physical consequences. If you’ve been made ill as a result of a specific mistreatment, then you might suffer the symptoms of that illness. But there are also more general psychological effects that are shared by victims of negligence more broadly.
You might feel anger or resentment toward the perpetrators of the malpractice, or toward the system that allowed it. You might attach blame, not only to those responsible, but to yourself. You might even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder – this being particularly likely if the mistreatment involved a specific stressful incident.
So, what about the financial consequences? Well, you might find that you’re unable to earn a living as a result of the malpractice. You might find yourself having to pay for specialised care, or for medicines. You might have to ask those close to you to take the time to care for you. All of these costs might be accounted for in a settlement.
How Does Medical Malpractice Affect Patients’ Trust in Healthcare Providers and The Medical System?
Medical malpractice has a tendency to dampen trust in the system. If you’ve been mistreated during a visit to an NHS hospital, it’s only natural that you’ll think twice before paying another visit. This can lead to more diffuse negative consequences, since widespread mistrust in healthcare will inevitably lead to patients suffering worse health outcomes. If you know someone who’s been mistreated, for example, you might delay treatment for a particular problem, which in the long-term might put you at greater risk of suffering.
How Can Medical Negligence be Prevented, and Fair Compensation Ensured for Patients?
In order to get the best possible chance of securing the compensation you need and deserve, it’s a good idea to seek out a specialised solicitor. Look for someone who not only deals with medical negligence, but has experience in the particular area of medicine you’re concerned with. Orthapedic injury claims should be made by a solicitor with experience with them.
The onus should not be put on patients to prevent their own mistreatment. However, if you’re looking for a healthcare professional, it might pay to do a little bit of research beforehand. If you discover that a particular provider has a poor reputation, it might pay to look elsewhere. This applies not just to the private sector, but to particular NHS practices, too.