Hospital blunders and compensation claims are unhappy bedfellows

When hospital blunders have serious consequences, compensation claims often follow, although it’s rarely the first thing that comes to the mind of most people. Anyone who goes to hospital wants to get good, effective treatment and patients want to be able to trust the experts to get it right. When something goes wrong, people don’t always know what to do next; suffer in silence, complain, demand that something is done?

The grief-stricken parents of the three-year-old Devon boy who died of a treatable condition because of a catalogue of errors by NHS workers, said they never wanted to lodge a formal complaint but had been encouraged to do so by the Patients Association. Susannah and Scott Morrish’s son, Sam, died of severe sepsis but the Health Service Ombudsman said this week that the toddler’s death was preventable and was as a result of inadequate assessment of his condition, failure to recognise he was vomiting blood, and a delay of three hours before he was given antibiotics in hospital.

The local GP practice, NHS Direct and South Devon NHS Trust were criticised and NHS England was ordered to pay the bereaved parents £20,000. A spokesman for the NHS said they accepted blame and apologised, saying that the boy’s death could and should have been prevented. Although this is one of the most serious and tragic examples of what can go wrong, the parents initial reaction was typical. They just wanted answers and an assurance that lessons would be learned but even that was badly handled by the NHS, in this instance.

Anyone who has received poor treatment because of negligence or misdiagnosis may be reluctant to consider making a compensation claim. Their priority will be to get better and people, who may be at a low ebb anyway because of ongoing health issues, may not feel fit enough to tackle an organisation like the NHS. Compensation claims made against any large and powerful institution can be intimidating and it’s times like these when expert help is needed.

PHC Law has many years of experience at dealing with all kinds of claims, including those made against the big and powerful. They have a 98% success rate at getting a full and fair deal on behalf of clients. No one should have to worry about getting proper care when they go to hospital and the majority of patients are satisfied with their treatment. But when things go wrong, we shouldn’t just keep quiet.