Medical Negligence Claims in Scotland.

(72 Posts)
donnakebab49 Fri 07-Feb-14 04:51:28

Can anyone advise me if they've had the horrific experience of medical negligence and what was/ is the outcome? I live in Ayrshire, just got told yesterday (6/2/2014) that i have lung disease (emphysema). This was me only being told after my ct scan 10 months, yes, months ago!!! Someone in the NHS is to blame for incompetence!! My GP hasn't mentioned my results, even though i'd been asking her up til Xmas. I assumed everything was ok until an appt letter dropped through my door 2 and half weeks ago. To make it all worse, i'm getting married NEXT FRIDAY!!!!!!!! Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

ThistleLickerIsGoingToBeAMummy Fri 07-Feb-14 07:56:13

Is your condition a manageable
Condition or terminal? Sorry I don't know much about it?

Also another finding this odd, I also seen your comments in somebody else's thread reiterating you would stop there and then if u had earlier diagnosis!

But now you have diagnosis your delaying stopping smoking until next week!!! Are you going to sue the nhs for that too??? For that's your choice!!!

ThistleLickerIsGoingToBeAMummy Fri 07-Feb-14 07:56:42

Oh and fwiw u posted in aibu.... Expect harsh answers some you may not like !

poopooheadwillyfatface Fri 07-Feb-14 07:57:58

this thread wins.
Your emphysema will have been managed according to your symptoms the last ten months and having an official diagnosis will not have changed how it was treated.

you are entitled to an apology for the delay. but I strongly doubt there would be compensation as it made no difference

If you want to sue someone you need to look at industrial compensation to get it blamed on your previous workplace rather than your long term smokinghmm
good luck with your wedding.

ProfondoRosso Fri 07-Feb-14 08:03:29

Ffs, OP should have been given her correct scan results in a timely manner. Which goes for any kind of medical test.

Some test results (nothing serious, thankfully) weren't passed on to me once and I got a terrible shock. I was told I had HPV and this had been known since a previous examination. It went away on its own, but I would rather have known I had it.

OP smokes. It's not illegal. I don't know anything about claims, OP, and whether or not you have a right to one, but you should have been treated more ethically by your doctors, IMO.

londonrach Fri 07-Feb-14 08:04:09

why did i read copd not emphysema.... same answer.

donnakebab49 Fri 07-Feb-14 08:07:26

Mmmm...........take responsibility for my own health??????????? I foolishly started smoking when i was 17 and that was 33 yrs ago. Smoking harm was unheard of. Maybe the NHS should take more responsibility regarding getting their patients, NON-SMOKERS ALSO, who die or are remain ill for rest of their life due to the timespan every NHS hospital farts about with crossed wired correspondence, etc. Surely even non-smokers agree with me??? No?????? Oh well, it must just be those like me who didn't know the dangers 30-odd yrs ago, then when we all were aware, we are hooked on nicotine??? What about drug addicts who are put on methadone for YEARS!!!!!!!! What about them getting special treatment in Chemists just so they can take their medicine in private?? I'll need to research this site and see if all the critics have wrote posts to them full of "it was you who took the drugs", blah, blah. I've got too much to do today to spend time telling my opinion. Please anybody who gets involved in this apparantly touchy subject, all i ask iss leave me ONLY POSITIVE advice and not rubbing it into my already fragile mind. As the saying goes, if you don't have anything nice to say - say nothing.

Marrow Fri 07-Feb-14 08:15:48

I'm sorry but if you had posted on a different board looking for support with your condition then you would have got it. However posting on AIBU with the title about suing for medical negligence is going to get a mixed response.

Thirty odd years ago the dangers of smoking were well documented and health education programmes were in place even in primary schools to educate people. I'm very sorry you have had a shocking diagnosis but instead of making excuses you do need to take responsibility for your choice to start smoking and your choice not to stop. I speak as someone who smoked 20 a day until I started trying for my first child.

Maybe try posting on the health board and not discussing compensation to get a more sympathetic response. Good luck for your wedding next week.

ginmakesitallok Fri 07-Feb-14 08:17:15

I'm not judging you for smoking - up until 7 months ago I smoked 20-30 a day. If you go down the medical negligence route you will have to prove that any damage caused was as a result of their delay in telling you your results. This will be virtually impossible as the links between smoking and COPD are well known. You will have to show that you did what you could to mitigate any losses. Given that you are still smoking you won't be able to do this. Regardless of a definitive diagnosis you obviously knew something was wrong, and surely you must have linked your lung problems with your smoking at some point?

Re drug addicts - at least those on methadone have made the positive decision to come off heroin and are on the road to recovery - you've not decided to deal with your smoking yet.

cory Fri 07-Feb-14 08:22:39

donna, there are two different questions here which do not hang together as closely as you imagine:

i) was it bad of the NHS to take so long to inform you?

yes, I think we can all agree on that; it is shocking and should not have happened

ii) do you have a reasonable chance of winning a compensation claim

this one is trickier; as gin says, to have a chance of compensation you have to be able to prove that you have suffered an actual loss because of the delay

I can only see two possible lines here:

a) *treatment could have been put in 10 months ago which would have made an appreciable difference to the longterm outcome*- this has to be proved by a doctor; if the management of your symptoms has been the same as it would have been with a diagnosis of emphysema then this falls to the ground

b) *difference advice would have made a difference to your behaviour*- this can only apply if you were not told to stop smoking at all; if you have been advised to stop smoking at any time, then this falls to the ground; the fact that you did not listen is neither here nor there; if your doctor tells you something and you ignore it that is, sadly, your responsibility

NCISaddict Fri 07-Feb-14 08:35:44

Compensation or proof of medical negligence will be dependent on the delay having made a difference to the outcome of the disease or condition, COPD is a chronic disease so is managed rather than cured so I think that YABU in thinking you have a chance at a successful claim. The delay, although distressing, will not in my opinion, have made a difference to the treatment and management of your condition.

BTW I was 16 33 years ago and I knew about the dangers of smoking but I appreciate that is not what you are asking.

Sunnymeg Fri 07-Feb-14 08:40:34

In my experience, claiming compensation for medical negligence is a very long drawn out process. I had an indisputable case, as an item was left inside me by the operating team who carried out the operation to remove a cancer. I developed problems after the operation and my chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment had to be delayed for a number of weeks whilst they found the problem, dealt with it and gave me time to recover.

It took over a year for the hospital to formally admit the error and a further two years to come to an agreement. I had to see numerous professionals to prove that my survival chances had been reduced which was not something I really wanted to hear.

To tell the truth they try to wear you down and hope you will throw the whole thing in. I am glad that I persevered but if the case was less clear cut I doubt I would have had the strength to continue.

Caitlin17 Fri 07-Feb-14 08:40:57

You really are talking rubbish when you say smoking harm was unheard of 33 years ago. I'm 5 years older than you. I have never smoked. I can't recall in my lifetime a situation where it was not known it was bad for you. "Smokers' cough" ring any bells? That's not a new expression.

MrsSeanBean1 Fri 07-Feb-14 08:43:23

I am sorry for your diagnosis. It must be an awful shock and yes, the delay in your diagnosis was not good practice and should be reported.

However, I think the time has definitely come for you to take some responsibility for your health. You should have stopped smoking years ago when you first had breathing trouble. You must have known smoking wasn't helping. Even now, after the diagnosis, you are putting off quitting again!! Sadly I think that, after your wedding, you will find another excuse to carry on smoking.

The NHS can only do so much if you don't help yourself. I just hope you haven't exposed other family members, particularly children to your second hand smoke over the years as they may be in your position in a few years time.

hairypaws Fri 07-Feb-14 08:48:23

I wouldn't bother. We had a tragedy in our family which resulted in death. Can't go into specifics for fear of being recognised but basically a massive injury was missed after a fall even after 4 visits to medical professionals. The PF was involved but in the end the family were worn down with grief and exhaustion and we gave up. A simple X-ray would have saved a life but person kept being fobbed off with pain killers.

GeraldineFangedVagine Fri 07-Feb-14 08:51:53

When you saw the consultant who told you that you had emphysema was your current treatment changed in any way because of your diagnosis? Has your care altered or a different treatment plan started since confirmation of your diagnosis? This will probably make a difference when you complain. If you want to improve services for others maybe start by contacting PALS at your hospital. Sorry you have had this bad news, have you been offered help to stop smoking? You can generally get lots of support from your gp, practice nurse or pharmacist.

Triliteral Fri 07-Feb-14 08:58:36

From Wikipedia regarding UK warnings.

"In 1971, tobacco companies printed on the left side of cigarette packets "WARNING by H.M. Government, SMOKING CAN DAMAGE YOUR HEALTH"."

I make that 43 years ago.

With regard to negligence, I doubt you have a claim. As others have said, you need to prove that the actions of the NHS have caused you harm in some way and although you have been very frustrated by their inaction, as your illness has been treated appropriately throughout (in response to your symptoms) you are unlikely to be able to claim compensation.

I do feel, however, that you have an absolutely valid reason to complain. The length of time between scan and result sounds excessive. It may be that at least they will give you a further apology and some kind of explanation, either about what happened, or about what they intend to do to prevent it happening again. Mistakes can and do occur though, with the best will in the world.

Best of luck with your wedding and I hope you are able to find a way to stop smoking.

frogwatcher42 Fri 07-Feb-14 09:03:23

Please don't chase compensation as in the long run it doesn't help anyone and very negatively affects our society (compensation culture is really stifling activities, help etc). It sounds as if you haven't suffered long term from not knowing and so effectively you haven't lost out.

Just write a letter of complaint and insist it is investigated. Then those in the wrong get told off, procedures get put in place to prevent it happening again and you have got what you want. You will probably be apologised to so job done.

Mistakes do happen in all jobs as humans are not machines (and even machines go wrong). Accept it and insist it gets put right for others but getting money for it won't make you better in any way.

We have suffered terrible negligence (not NHS) and so many people advised us to sue, but we didn't. I did get procedures put in place to ensure the safety of others following us, but I don't believe in sueing unless there will be huge expenses such as long term care needed following the negligence (and as a direct result of the negligence).

diddl Fri 07-Feb-14 09:05:46

"I foolishly started smoking when i was 17 and that was 33 yrs ago. Smoking harm was unheard of."

Oh come on!

I'm also 50 & knew as a kid that smoking was bad for you!!

That said, 10wks between test & result is shit.

expatinscotland Fri 07-Feb-14 09:11:49

So you want money for smoking yourself to COPD, which you are still doing? For real? You want to channel valuable funding to your own self for a disease you brought on yourself?

expatinscotland Fri 07-Feb-14 09:14:45

My mother has COPD. The FIRST thing she did when she started to get short of breath, before even seeing the doctor, was STOP SMOKING. She started in 1959, when it was starting to become known that smoking was very harmful. It was WELL known 33 years ago.

Hi OP,

That must have been so stressful waiting for such a long time for your test results, especially after being told it was probably cancer. Nobody should have to go through that.

As others have said, you are probably wasting your time pursuing a medical negligence claim, although I think it would be worth getting in touch with PALS and complaining. I'm thinking of this consultant's other patients and wondering how many others might have had a delay in their treatment and whether it might have made a real difference in their cases.

I would worry about all that later though. For now, save your energy for getting through your wedding - congratulations and good luck! - and for giving up smoking. I don't blame you for waiting until after your wedding, I don't think one week will make much of a difference and I can't imagine a worse time to try and stop.

When you're ready, you might want to consider coming over to the latest vaping thread. You'll get lots of non-judgmental support.

I smoked for about the same length of time as you, tried just about every quitting method you can think of and it's only the e cig that has worked for me. It was a near effortless transition and for the first time ever I feel relapse-proof.

Does your fiance smoke? If so, you will need to ensure he is firmly on side. Ideally he should stop too and if he loves you he should be committed to not smoking anywhere near you as an absolute minimum.

DrewsWife Fri 07-Feb-14 09:32:35

I'm sorry you are going through this. But really if you have had symptoms for that long and by your own admission... Pain meds for your back other meds for your chest... You should have given up lonnnnnggggg ago.

Your wedding next week is no excuse. Yes it's horrifically stressful but it's also an exciting time.

Not every complaint is a lawsuit. Yes you could have found out sooner. But would anything have changed.

Took two years for my child to be diagnosed with a life changing condition. Two years! By which point major damage was done to her wee body. She now will need major corrective surgery in a few years. We are talking 2 new jaw joints, breaking her jaw, widening it, and, lengthening it... I didn't sue.

The reason?!!! The NHS is run by human beings. Human beings make errors. They learn from their mistakes and f everyone used what is essentially a free service.. Yes we pay taxes for it... But given my daughters meds cost £50k a year upwards... I don't pay that much!

Calm down... Have a fag hmm. But it really would just be better to have a cuppa... Quit TODAY! And forgive them and start today as day one. You know about your condition. Start doing the best you can!

We are in charge of our own life choices

MrsSippie Fri 07-Feb-14 10:09:15

I had a pretty awful experience recently post surgically due to straightforward clinical negligence. I am simply contacting PALS to ask why this happened and what can be done to prevent in happening again as I really don't want anyone to go through that. It has shaken me up very badly as ha brought back a lot of very traumatic memories of many surgeries as a child and I am struggling to cope.

However, what I want isn't a ton of cash from an already struggling NHS but acknowledgment that something happened that shouldn't have which has resulted in me changing a fair bit sad I want an explanation.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a kind of 'competitive trauma' issue going on - which is upsetting and unnecessary. If anyone feels they have been treated wrongly by any public sector body, I believe they have a right to search for answers and should expect to be treated appropriately.

cory Fri 07-Feb-14 10:20:59

OP, I'd be looking at the kind of acknowledgment that MrsSippie is talking about instead. There is a greater chance of actually getting anywhere with that and it will be just as likely to result in changes.

LessMissAbs Fri 07-Feb-14 10:28:08

In answer to your question, OP, the standard the courts apply in assessing medical negligence claims is the same in Scotland as in England and Wales and is based on the Hunter v. Hanley test. You need to prove deviation from normal practice, viz:

"First, it must be proved that there is a usual and normal practice;
Second, it must be proved that the defender has not adopted that practice; and
Third, (and this is of crucial importance) it must be established that the course the doctor adopted is one which no professional man of ordinary skill would have taken if he had been acting with ordinary care."

Larger payouts tend to be based on loss of income through being unable to work and to enjoy a normal social life, and on ongoing medical care. Claims may be reduced by up to 100% for contributory negligence.

You would also have to prove the main or prevailing cause of your loss was any negligent medical treatment, not smoking or working in a textile factory. Did any of the non-smoking ex employees of that factory go on to develop emphaseama?

The sort of questions being posed to you on here are nothing compared to the questions that would have to be answered in court. Your diagnosis could well have depended on a number of diagnostic factors, however it has to be asked whether the time of diagnosis was relevant in the fact that you claim the damage occurred more than 30 years ago and you have been a smoker for 33 years, including after your lung scan.

The NHS is horrendously busy, and they see a lot of people who perhaps don't take the care that they could for their own health. I would have thought this sort of timescale was quite standard when dealing with that type of patient. Presumably you have been suffering from symptoms for a number of years, but it did not occur to the you to stop smoking, but instead harry the medical profession who are trying to help you (more than you are doing yourself)?

I think people on here are being harsh because there are a lot of dedicated medical professionals frustrated by people like you who would like to see this sort of thing to you but cannot; there are also a lot of patients who have in no way contributed to their own disease who have to put up with longer waiting lists because of people choosing to lead unhealthy lifestyles.

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