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.

Mrsmorton Fri 07-Feb-14 15:43:49

There has been no negligence, you might be watching too much daytime tv. Even if 33 years ago, you didn't realise smoking was bad hmm there may have been a couple of information campaigns since then to let you know... Stop looking for someone to blame.

MrsSippie Fri 07-Feb-14 13:56:02

If I was incredibly nasty, I would be suing the arse off the NHS for putting me through 18 years of unacceptable pain and surgery as an 'experiment' which failed - and when it did fail and no more could be tried on me, when i was 18, they washed their hands of me and crowed about how clever they'd been putting a little girl through shit so they could write about it and travel the world with photos of me. This may sound a little hysterical, but even the consultants I have been seeing lately agree that this is what happened.

However, what would be the point? It won't take away what happened and it won't make me 'better'.

I was a smoker for 30 + years too, luckily (touch wood) I seem to have escaped with no problems but if i had, then i'd be kicking myself not the hospital for telling me I was ill! I understand it's the delay you are concerned with, but unfortunately in some cases, that seems to be the NHS today.

Shonajoy Fri 07-Feb-14 13:32:20

The NHS said my smear had mild abnormalities. If I'd listened I'd be dead, I had a 4cm tumour and major surgery (privately). I wrote to make them aware of what had happened, but I'd never consider taking money from an institution which is the only source of care for some people, does a good job in many cases, and it struggling financially.

I wish you the best but I'd save your energy for keeping as well as you can x

diddl Fri 07-Feb-14 13:31:39

I wrote 10wks by mistake.

I had read your post correctly.

Even a 10wk wait is unnacceptable.

Onesleeptillwembley Fri 07-Feb-14 13:25:02

What a load of bollocks.
You started smoking 33 years ago and you didn't know it was harmful then? You either lived in a cave or you're lying.
You also say it's about making the NHS give results in a timely manner. After saying you want compensation, even if only for the delay.
You say you'd have stopped immediately if given the diagnosis sooner, yet you haven't now (whatever crap excuse you're using).
Each and every one of these lies is so frustrating, even more than the fact you expect someone to compensate you for your lifestyle choices.
Whilst I wouldn't wish your diagnosis on you or anyone, frankly, your attitude to the surrounding details is disgusting.

Caitlin17 Fri 07-Feb-14 13:16:32

In order to get compensation you have to have suffered a loss or incurred damages. Posters with medical knowledge seem to think the treatment you would already be getting would be no different than if you had been told earlier.

Even if you had suffered loss you have in legal terms the concept of "contributory negligence"to factor in. You will have been told by the health care professionals to stop smoking. You can get assistance with that on the NHS. You chose to ignore that advice.

You might be entitled to an apology for the delay but that's about it.

As I said I'm 5 years older than you. At my perfectly ordinary Scottish state school in secondary year one in the early 70s as part of general sex/health education I was told smoking was bad for my health.

LessMissAbs Fri 07-Feb-14 13:14:54

Well, OP, if you are as ungrateful to the NHS as for the legal advice I gave you, free of charge, about the Hunter v. Hanley standard of care, then I wish them the best of luck.

Most decent solicitors won't take cases on that don't have a reasonable chance of success. I always worked for decent firms and we used to turn away a fair number of clients. Legal aid is assessed in the same way.

DamnBamboo Fri 07-Feb-14 12:47:55

OP this is really not an example of horrific medical negligence.
It's obviously not great that this happened, suing them? What exactly for? What illness, loss or permanent damaged have you suffered solely as a result of their actions?

I can't see any.

SlimJiminy Fri 07-Feb-14 12:39:03

It saddens me to think that someone who's smoked for 30+ years threatens to sue the NHS in relation to a condition that has most likely been caused by their habit.

You'll be getting your treatment through the NHS - isn't that enough? You should feel lucky that you didn't have to pay for the scan in the first place. Or the appointment with the consultant. Or an appointment every time you see your GP. Crap situation, yes. Is suing the NHS the answer? No.

You haven't missed a 10-month window of opportunity to quit - you've had 30+ years. Stop looking for someone else to blame. Have you stopped smoking yet?

Armadale Fri 07-Feb-14 11:47:14

Hi OP, first of all I think it is absolutely ridiculous that it took 10 months for the results to get to you, truly no-one could argue that is a sensible or reasonable amount of time.

I also sympathise with your frustration in chasing them up with GP's etc and getting nowhere fast, I have had experience of this and it is very wearing.

With your wedding next week, the timing here has been just awful for you and you have my sympathy.

I have some experience of upsetting treatment by the NHS as I complained about various things that went wrong when my first baby died in January 2012.

I chose not to sue because I am opposed to medical negligence claims for the NHS (excepting maintenance payouts when negligence has caused disability for example) as it takes money away from a struggling service.

I also have enough legal knowledge to realise that suing for medical negligence is a gruelling affair at the best of times.

Because of this, when I complained to the hospital I made it very clear in writing that the issues would never be the subject of legal proceedings, I simply wanted an honest look at what could go wrong and how it could not happen again.

What became clear to me is that the hospital took that as code for 'we can completely ignore Armadale, she is no financial risk to us' and just fobbed me off constantly. I didn't get anywhere and at no time was I able to have an honest, reasonable conversation with them.

Looking back on things I was very angry at their incompetence, which I had every right to be, but getting involved with the complaints procedure meant I was tying up valuable energy that I could have spent healing and resting.

I was constantly expecting a letter through the door etc, then of course I had to reply, then wait for their reply etc...it took the focus of me concentrating on myself and in retrospect I wished I had just walked away.

If I was you I would feel completely justified at being angry with them, but I would choose not to battle with them, concentrate on your health, by giving up smoking, getting fit, resting lots etc because you are more important now than anything they did.

I hope you have a wonderful wedding next week.

Hazelbrowneyes Fri 07-Feb-14 11:36:13

I hate this blame/claim culture we seem to be living in.

5 years ago a nurse left me with severe nerve damage after penetrating the nerve during a blood test and not removing the needle despite me screaming in agony. 5 years on and despite extensive physio, I still do not have the full use of my left arm.

I now have serious problems with my shoulder and back as a result.

Did I think of making a claim for compensation? No. Not once. Do I look back and wish I had? No. The NHS provide us with free healthcare and I am eternally grateful for that.

I'm confused as to exactly what you're claiming for? The delay? I don't think you'll get much joy with that one but you're not going to listen to me because you're seeing £££.

The NHS can help you stop smoking, you know that, right?

tobiasfunke Fri 07-Feb-14 11:35:15

Have a bit of bloody compassion people. Are those who smoke non-people now who should be made fun of? Of course it's scandalous to have to wait 10 months for scan results whether they smoke, take heroin, eat lard, 3 times a day or go off piste skiing every weekend. That is just awful.
The OP has every right to be pissed off with the NHS but maybe isn't directing her ire in the right way.

I thought the Op was suing them for having to wait so long for the results not because she had COPD. Suing them isn't the answer - complaining might help others.

Donna, even if your diagnosis had not been caused by smoking, you must know that it will only get worse if you continue.

People on MN can be very harsh towards smokers in a way that is completely understandable but is often unhelpful. There are pockets of genuine support though - if you don't fancy the ecig route, you might want to start a thread in General Health - when you're ready.

TerribleMother Fri 07-Feb-14 11:25:10

You obviously missed the several posters with extensive legal knowledge giving you solid advice then OP. You may as well go ahead and try to sue the nhs, knock yourself out. I wish your solicitor the best of luck in advising you.

FannyFifer Fri 07-Feb-14 11:22:27

Did you have to have a fag to get over the shock?

DrewsWife Fri 07-Feb-14 11:18:16

What does this icon mean ?? biscuit Just saw Thistle hand one out lol

GeraldineFangedVagine Fri 07-Feb-14 11:16:02

If your copd wasnt caused by smoking, it still wont be improved by continuing to smoke. Theres lots of help available. You are right in thinking a week wont make a massive difference after 33 years, but giving up will definately improve your breathing. Good luck op.

ThistleLickerIsGoingToBeAMummy Fri 07-Feb-14 11:11:18

Oh dear! I think the op now deserves a biscuit

expatinscotland Fri 07-Feb-14 11:08:59

You will never know if it were unrelated to smoking because you have smoked for 33 years and continue to do so. You were having pain relief for chest and back I would bet my life you were advised by HCPs to stop smoking. I smoked myself, like a draughty lum. I would hope if I tried to sue the NHS when I, likely, get COPD I would be laughed out of any solicitor's office.

DrewsWife Fri 07-Feb-14 11:05:11

Donna i genuinely think that it doesn't matter what people think you have clearly made up your mind to sue the arse off something an remove money from a system that treats thousands daily. I too am in Ayrshire and whilst I'm sorry you have been diagnosed with a shitty illness, stamping your feet and yelling isn't going to get you ANYWHERE. My advice. Do what you want to do..

donnakebab49 Fri 07-Feb-14 10:56:58

Well, well........i'm sorry for upsetting everyone and the few people who do understand, i appreciate. Just a few remarks to leave you all with.....for a start mostly everyone is totally not understanding what i was looking for advice with, also as far i've read, 1 person didn't even read the post correct......they wrote "10 weeks", so that just proves that person didn't even read it right. Oh and 1 last thing before i leave this website for good, is i would love to know if my diagnosis was nothing to do with smoking??????????? So please don't waste your time waiting on me answering again, cos i obviously acciddently posted the topic on wrong thread!!!

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.

Really? It's quite standard to be expected to wait 10 months just for test results if your behaviour has contributed to your condition? Is it meant as some sort of punishment then? It certainly makes no sense either medically or financially.

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.

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.

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.

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