Michael Twaits, medical negligence expert, on clinical errors and negligence cases

doctor patientAlmost every patient seeking for help in a medical institution experiences mixed feelings. On the one hand – it is a deep sense of faith in the power of modern medicine, high level of responsibility and expertise of the attending physician. On the other hand – personal experience, a mixture of insecurity and fear about the result of medical care and doubts regarding a quick, painless recovery. Barksman & Co representative, the firm specialising in medical negligence and represented at medical negligence solicitors category, has sent Michael Twaits to give practical comments and share his point of view (as it turned out, with a grain of philosophy).

‘With more than 20 years of experience in the medical and administrative circles I can say that there is no reason to believe that you’ll get a 100% guarantee of quality in healthcare services, and selfsame, there is no reason to lose faith in medicine – even in today’s challenging environment a professional can accurately correct diagnosis and prescribe effective, successful treatment’ says Twaits. It should be noted those who pays for health services directly to the doctor (institution, clinic, etc.), oftentimes think they get an extra protection from medical errors, but the origins of the medical services provision, as a rule, are beyond the commodity-money relations. At the same time, provision of medical services differs in a certain extent from the provision of services in other social sectors. (more…)

Choosing the medical negligence expert properly: the ‘second opinion’ case

medical-expertThe outcome of a claim for medical malpractice largely depends on second opinion submitted by both parties – this is the key point of a professional negligence case. Therefore, the most important thing in a lawsuit of medical negligence is to choose the best medical specialists for second opinion and provide the court with the most thorough and easy to comprehend medical expert opinion. Oftentimes, it becomes obvious whether the claim will be satisfied or not after getting acquainted with a medical expert conclusion. So how should you choose a medical expert? Should it be the head of the department? A specialist with a good reputation? An experienced physician with a large medical practice or an intern who reads the medical literature and aware of all the innovations and achievements of medicine? It depends. There are professionals with a strong character and background, whose ‘second opinion’ sounds dogmatic, but poorly deployed; selfsame, there are young doctors who can write extremely successful and relevant medical expert conclusions. (more…)

Clinical negligence: the real cases and legal aspects

AnaesthesiaA 12 years old teenager was brought to the hospital with the diagnosis of appendicitis. During anesthesia, he stopped breathing. The measures to revive the patient were unsuccessful. It turned out that instead of a cylinder with oxygen the machine was connected to the cylinder with carbon dioxide. As a result: the lethal outcome was caused by poisoning with carbon dioxide. The actions of the doctor responsible for anesthesia were qualified as causing death by negligence.

A nurse had to inject a solution of bromine intravenously. Taking from the medical cabinet, from the place where usually stood bromine bottle of colorless liquid, and not paying attention to the label, the nurse completed an injection. Immediately after injection convulsions in the patient have started. Despite the measures taken, the patient died within an hour. It turned out that instead of bromine the nurse has introduced 10 ml of tetracaine. Her actions were qualified as causing death by negligence.

Before the surgery, the abortion doctor instead of novocaine introduced ammonia locally. The consequence was the death of the vagina, rectum, urinary bladder and ureter. The measures taken to rescue the life were taken, but the result was a disability in the patient. The doctor was destined for causing grievous bodily harm through negligence.

informed consentResponsibility for crimes against life and health may occur as a result of the unlawful use of methods of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, immune-biological preparations, disinfectants, and biomedical research. The application of the methods, tools and studies are established in the Fundamentals of Legislation on Health Protection, according to which it is possible to use only approved methods, tools and research methods. The law allows a range of exceptions, but the methods of diagnosis, treatment and medicines can be taken advantage of only after receiving a patient’s voluntary written consent (while in persons younger than 15 years – a written agreement of their legal representatives). In the UK the consent is produced mainly through the help of a legal agency: thus, for example, solicitors.guru, a legal startup that helps you find a solicitor with ease, admit that currently almost 1753 accredited medical negligence solicitors work in the UK.

Medical activity is inconceivable without experimentation, as well as any other science. However, the specific medical experiment is that it may not always be completed in vitro and requires only a final check on the human body, which is closely interconnected with the risk of harmful effects. In such cases, the medical action can be taken by way of innovation, from a legal point of view, must meet two essential conditions:

  1. it must be carried out for the benefit of treatment;
  2. innovative tools and methods should be required to pass a preliminary test on animals. Such verification is considered sufficient if it is proved the positive results can be obtained, which in itself does not exclude a certain degree of risk. The risk is mainly related to the health of the individual patient: the harder and more dangerous the patient’s condition is (not treatable by conventional means), the wider the risk range can be justified.