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Should I sue the NHS

(14 Posts)
vickihatton Mon 18-Jul-11 15:44:08

Hi there, just need a bit of advise.

I had such a bad pregnancy, really terrible time, I was back and forth from my doctors with 'morning sickness', diahorea, and pains on my right side. They told me I had PSD, a pelvic disorder, and it will go after I was pregnant. I could not bend down, stand up anything, was awful.

One night I woke up with servere pains in, I had a terrible fever and was being sick etc, I rang the NHS helpline who told me to go straight to my nearest hospital as I was 26 weeks pregnant by then. Once I got there I was taken to the labour ward and a midwife said to 'I should've gone to the hospital i was having my baby at!' I felt awful the fact i had put her day out, and I explained to her i didnt think it was the baby, I was ill.

I was referred to a ward, where I had 6 doctors trying to find out what was wrong with me, one doctor who kept telling me not to eat as it was appendicitis was being over ruled by another doctor saying I should eat, as I had been sick too many times for it to be that and it was gastric. I had to endure 4 days of tests, the pain was excruciating, being wheeled here there and every where. It got to the point where they kept telling me I was fine and I was questioning my own sanity. I truly believed I was going mad!

One midwife was not very nice and told me if i didnt start eating id end up on a drip and it would be my own fault.

Everything came to a head, when my doctor told the midwives to check my obs every half an hour and i was left for nearly 3 hours, without anyone coming into me and I was screaming in pain, with my room next to the nurses station, not one person came into me, unitll my mother arrived at visiting time and heard me screaming from the end of the corridor. This is when my appendics ruptured. I had to be put on oxygen as I could not breath properly and I was rushed into theatre.

my partner was told they were going to try save my life and my baby had a very slim chance of survival.

My appendics were stuck behind my stomach and rib cage, causing me not to be able to eat or breath properly. once removed my digestive system failed, and i was admitted to HDU, where i was self administer morphine and had a tube from my nose to my stomach, and a caphator and a drip. but after consideration they decided to spend 2 hours putting pic lines in me.

I was then discharged too early and ended up back in.

After the incident a couple of doctors apologised to me and the midwifes said that they didnt realise how ill I was!

My daughter was born prematurely at 35 weeks as her plecenta stopped working and she came out very ill, she had pneumonia tacky cario and an infection which was probably due to me being so ill.

when she was released from hospital A normal mother couldve been there for her daughter but i was still tryin to get get better, it took me a few months to recover.

however today my daughter is nearly 2 and she is doing so well! me on the other had for the first year after having tasha i was so teary all the time i had bad nightmares over my experince and I have a 4 + inch scar on my stomach above my belly button.

you hear about people suing the hospital all the time, but im not that type of person as i would feel bad, but this still affects me to this day, does anyone have any similar stories or have any advice i would really appreciate it. Thank you x

breatheslowly Mon 18-Jul-11 15:54:09

I'm really sorry to hear that all of this happened to you. It sounds very scary. I think you need to identify what outcomes you want from any process (I have no idea if you would have a legal chance of winning a case).

Do you want:
Financial compensation
To know that your case was thoroughly investigated and lessons learnt so that it doesn't happen to someone else
Some form of help e.g. counselling to overcome your trauma
Some form of help which would allow you to move on (e.g. a debrief so that you could be confident that you would receive appropriate care if you had another DC)

coccyx Mon 18-Jul-11 15:57:40

How is you daughters premature birth relevant??

baffledmum Mon 18-Jul-11 20:27:35

Please remember that you would be suing individual doctors / nurses not an anonymous NHS. Also that you need to have concrete supporting evidence to hand. Anything that was simply said may well be discounted unless you have it in writing. What would you be looking for as outcome? I don't want to sound harsh but would suggest counselling with a view to addressing your distress in the first instance. You will probably find that you can obtain this on the NHS through your GP if you explain the situation.

TheOriginalFAB Mon 18-Jul-11 20:33:12

No one can say whether you should sue the NHS but you need to talk to someone.

I had cause to sue but I immediately decided not too as the NHS doesn't have enough money and it wouldn't change what happened to me.

maybetoday Mon 18-Jul-11 20:50:22

Did you make a complaint against the hospital? This would mean that what happened to you would be properly investigated and you would be able to find out why they didn't realise you had appendicitis earlier. It would also give you the opportunity to discuss the fact that you were not given adequate midwifery/nursing care while you were in pain.

therugratref Mon 18-Jul-11 21:00:15

I think you need to have some counselling. You have been through a traumatic experience which is continuing to effect you. Suing the hospital will not change the fact that you experienced this and it wont help you deal with the emotional effects. I recommend trying to deal with how it has mde you feel and revisting the issue of legal action when you are in a better place. It is impossible for us to judge is you have a case or not.
I hope you get the help you need and are able to move forward

sneezecakesmum Mon 18-Jul-11 21:25:36

Contact PALS who are the first line of call when you have a complaint. You will need to get copies of your notes (this may cost up to £50) and either show them to a professional who can advise you if there may be a case. Alternatively there are specialist solicitors who deal with medical negligence and if they feel you have a case they will obtain the notes for you and have someone expert look them over. Contact the Law society for a reliable solicitor.

You need to get counselling, your GP should arrange this although the waiting times are a bit long.

If you daughter is well and not impacted developmentally, I don't think there would be a case for negligence on her behalf. If you have suffered physical long term problems (and these can arise with abdominal inflammation (peritonitis)) you would have a case for negligence on your behalf. I am doubtful whether a larger than average scar would constitute this as your pregnancy would have complicated any incision. If you have suffered emotional trauma, PTSD, etc, which seems the case, and the medical records prove your case could have been handled better, you should receive compensation for your distress. Suing the hospital indeed wont change the fact that you were treated badly, but it may prevent others going through the same thing if hospitals are made to pay for bad practice. However the act of suing itself is incredibly long drawn out and stressful, and you have had a sort of apology and acknowledgement which is what a lot of patients want.

Knackeredmother Mon 18-Jul-11 21:39:22

I think you certaintly need to contact PALS. You need closure and it sounds like you were treated appallingly. I sense you need to have an apology and know that this won't happen to anyone else irrespective of whether you sue.
I have also had a traumatic nhs experience but unfortunately work as a doctor in the hospital where it happened so have not taken it further.
I understand how you can be traumatized by this and PALS would be a good starting point. I am sorry this happened to you.

A1980 Mon 01-Aug-11 00:44:07

I am truly sorry for the rough time you had but I am a clin neg lawyer and I am struggling to see the negligence or the causation.

I can see a series of very unfotunate events but the fact remains that you were very very ill and this was not due to the doctors negligence. You were ill and needed life saving treatment and you would have had a rough time in any event.

It sounds as if you had a much rougher time than you needed to. There were delays in getting you the treatment you needed but you would have to prove that these delays caused you a significantly worse outcome to be able to claim. Regarding outcome, you don't seem to have been left with an identifiable injury to claim for. Your daughter is fine (thank god), you have a scar but you would have had a scar anyway as you were ill anyway and needed surgery anyway.

Alot of people seem to think that having a rough time in hospital and then recovering is enough to give rise to a claim. I'm afraid it isn't enough.

Also regarding baffledmum's comment: Please remember that you would be suing individual doctors / nurses not an anonymous NHS. This is wrong. I really with people without specialist knowledge would stop giving it. You would sue the NHS Trust as they are vicariously laible for the doctors / nurses. You would only sue individual doctors in the case of private medicine or GP's.

Limitation will also expire in about a year given that your daughter is 2 and it happened about 2 years ago. You have 3 years to bring a claim. You are out of time to make a NHS complaint as the time limit is 6 months.

TheFeministsWife Tue 02-Aug-11 20:20:42

coccyx
"How is you daughters premature birth relevant??"

What an insensitive reply! hmm If you read the OP she says the placenta stopped working and her daughter was born very ill!

OP I'm very sorry for what you went through, sad but I don't think suing the NHS is the answer. I think you would definitely benefit from counselling.

A1980 Tue 02-Aug-11 21:49:42

If you read the OP she says the placenta stopped working and her daughter was born very ill!

I don't think it;s significant either and I am a med neg lawyer!

The premature birth doesn't seem to be the result of anyone's negligence. I'm not aware of any act on behalf of the doctors in this case or generally that can acutally cause a placenta to stop working. This sounds as if it was somethnig that happened of its own accord and it is therefore not relevant to the OP wanting to sue the NHS.

The OP asked for legal advice and she's getting it. It is often very hard to sugar coat honest legal advice. it is what it is.

I don't see a claim at all here. Her pregnancy was already fraught with complications when she developed appendicitis which probably made the appendicitis more difficult to diagnose. The symptoms of appendicitis can be quite non-specific in the early stages and the failure to diagnose it earlier may well not have been negligent given OP's signficant complications with her pregnancy.

When the appendicitis was discovered the OP was dealt with quickly and appropraitely and she came out with a scar which she would have had in any event as she needed surgery to remove her appendix. The pregnancy will have made the surgery more complicated hence needing a bigger scar perhaps: again no ones fault.

The OP's daughter was delivered safely and made a full recovery.

To make a claim for negligence, there first has to be a negligent act which caused an indentifiable injury. I don't see negligence from the facts and
Mum is fine save for a scar she would have had anyway because of appendicitis and baby is fine. There doesnt' seem to have been an outcome that it worse that it would have been anyway.

The OP is out of time for an NHS compliant, running out of time for a med neg claim and what will it achieve other than more disapointment at being told there isn't a claim. I would be very surprised if a solicitor even agreed to take this on.

The OP should seek counselling for her traumatic expereince.

TheFeministsWife Tue 02-Aug-11 22:53:04

A1980 I agree. I just thought coccyx's reply was a little insensitive especially as she didn't write anything else.

Eurostar Tue 02-Aug-11 23:10:07

Sorry to hear what you went through. I'd be angry if I was you.

I would ask your doctor for a psychologist assessment (not counselling at this stage) to see if PTSD is present, and if it is, for a referral to a psychologist or specialist service that treats PTSD.

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