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Suing the NHS??(34 Posts)
Hi all, I would like some advice, I am 20 years old, since I was 5 (since 2002) I have been suffering with seizures, the first few seizures I had, my parents took me to the doctors and they always put it down to “migraine shock” as I’ve always suffered with migraines, when I was 10 (Boxing Day 2007) I suffered a really bad seizure which required an ambulance to come out to me as I was unresponsive, still getting put down to migraine shock... I got put on a medication called beta blockers when I was 12-13 years old to help with the migraines, cut a long story short, 4-5 different medications later and now 18 years old, the doctors FINALLY decided to refer me to the hospital for brain scans to determine why I was actually having these seizures, turned out I am epileptic, which had been untreated for 13 years, diagnosed and started being treated at the age of 19 years old, and now have tissue damage to the back of my brain due to not being treated for so long, I have had numerous people telling me that this was “NHS Negligance” and that I should sue the NHS... But it’s daunting me that the NHS wouldn’t help me anymore when I need them, how many of you would go through with suing the NHS after 14 years of mistreatment?
I think you need to actually make a complaint to your GP practice and hospital asking why this wasn't diagnosed sooner. Their response should give their explanation.
From what you've told us it obviously sounds pretty bad, but from having been on the other side of patient complaints, sometimes it is due to misunderstanding/ miscommunication rather than negligence, so you may find their letter back reassuring.
If you still think there has been negligence then see a Solicitor who specialises in medical negligence to find out if you have a case.
If you have suffered from a delayed diagnosis then I think it's fine to seek proportionate costs. Any money awarded wouldn't usually come directly "from the NHS" but from the indemnity companies covering the doctors.
I think there is a time limit on making claims so you might want to check this.
I think you should make a formal complaint but why weren't hour parents questioning this much earlier On? The NHS can be crap but I really believe we or our carers need to take responsibility for ensuring we and ours receive optimum care.
My parents continuously tried to get to the bottom of it, but constantly got pushed off with “it’s just migraine shock” and more medication for me to take
I think your parents need to be questioned by you.
Why were they not asking more questions and pushing for a brain scan or a second opinion?
The NHS is pushed to extreme limits. I expect you have a file about a foot thick- who has the time to read all of the way through that and to find out exactly what tests you have/ haven't had?
While I feel for you I don't know what suing the NHS would do apart from deprive some department somewhere of much needed funds.
Yes, the NHS isn't perfect and it does make mistakes. But it's also amazing and precious and ours and needs looking after.
In my experience the NHS is reactive rather than proactive and when you have symptoms which are undiagnosed sometimes you need to do a bit of research and questioning yourself rather than just relying on and believing everything the health professionals tell you.
I'm amazed you were not checked for epilepsy years ago but I'm even more amazed that your parents who have presumably lived with you for all/ much of your life have never asked questions that would have led to a faster diagnosis.
My advice would be to find out what you need to do from now on and get on with the rest of your life.
Why would you not be relieved that you now know the reason for your symptoms.
If your not happy with nhs why don't you pay for private going forward ?
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I can understand your frustration but honestly? Imho it feels grubby and morally wrong to sue the nhs.
I have seen people sue and it takes YEARS from them. It stops them living, and causes other problems.
You have another 80 odd years of care coming your way from the nhs (if it survives ) so I think I’d be inclined to look ahead, to the future rather than back.
Good luck whatever you decide.
why would you not be relieved that you now know the reason for your symptoms
Presumably because the delay in diagnosis has caused brain damage? I think the NHS can be amazing, but it's made up of individuals, who are fallible and even if you love and respect the institution, people still need to be held accountable when they do things that cause harm to others. If it was me, I would probably start an official complaint and see how that went, rather than suing, but I would expect to be offered a full explanation of how and why this happened, and an apology if necessary.
I also think you need to make a complaint to your GP surgery and hospital and ask your parents for more information.
I am not sure "migraine shock" is a diagnosis, when they reply to the complaint it may make it clearer.
I also think you need to ask your parents. Did you see a neurologist or a paediatrician? Did they all have the same diagnosis?
What do you want to achieve? Better training/ people not to be in the same position as you (with a delayed diagnosis)? Better access to neurology services /more awareness? Maybe you want them to say sorry and that there must have been more they could have done?
None of these things are more likely to happen if you sue the NHS. Infact the opposite.
A complaint and apology might be all that is needed, but equally there may be more serious implications that mean you need extra care etc, there’s no harm in looking into it. Suing isn’t looking backwards, part of the process is identifying what is needed to move forward in terms of support and funding for that support. Calling it “grubby” isn’t helpful.
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Try contacting your local PALS (patient advice and liaison service) to look into the hospital side of things and your Gp aswell. PALS are made up of lawyers but are mediation experts aswell.
I'd be wary of involving 'no win no fee ' lawyers straight away without clarifying what, when and how you want. From your post it is unclear whether you want information about your condition and diagnosis or money.
And money from sueing an NHS trust comes directly out of that trusts budget. Not a national pot but a local one that funds everything from flu jabs to herceptin.
At the very least you deserve someone to listen to you and PALS will do that.
End of the day I'd not bite the hand that feeds you ! The NHS is going to be needed by you , for treatment, for life
I’ll be suing the NHS soon. They nearly destroyed my body and family.
Is migraine shock your parents' words or have you read this verbatim in your actual notes?
Get your surgery notes- a copy of all of your paper Lloyd George notes and all scanned documents/digital records.
Make sure you know what has actually been documented before you complain.
Your GP Surgery will have a formal complaints procedure which their manager will explain to you, it will be lengthy and quite complex.
You have some way to go before you will be able to sue anyone.
I am kind of against suing the NHS. It is already cash strapped and the number of cases being brought is only likely to cause more mistakes and put people off becoming an NHS doctor or nurse.
I can't bear it when people sue the NHS and then contine to use it.
Julieelizabeth - you need information, you have had some great advice from posters on here. Start with your parents and your GP surgery. Request a copy of your notes. I got a copy of mine last year- they make interesting reading!
When you have been through them then go to PALS.
Ask yourself what you want to achieve by making a complaint/ sueing.
And remember, like Frazzle76 says, when somebody sues the NHS the money they are awarded comes directly out of that trusts budget. Which may mean that a service you need is suddenly withdrawn.
Or a unit is closed.
Don't bite the hand that feeds.
Instead of asking for PMs
on your first ever post if this company is that good surely you'd want to share it with everyone?
The NHS falsified my records so I actually I think suing them is necessary. Not for money, but to get the person responsible sacked.
I will also be transferring my care to a private GP and only use NHS services through private medical insurance as in this country not everything is accessible privately.
It also took them 25years to diagnose me with a condition I was born with. I understand they are public services, but if they do something wrong they are still liable and therefor not beyond the law. Don’t sue them for money, sue them because it I.S he right thing to do and they may change their procedures so that what happened to you never happens again
I don't think it's wrong to sue the NHS if there is something for which they are liable which is going to cause you ongoing expense that will not be funded by the taxpayer. Eg if proven NHS negligence causes you to lose an arm and the NHS will only give you a rubbish prosthetic, but £100,000 will buy an amazing cybernetic prosthetic controlled by your brain waves then certainly sue for £100,000. Suing for punitive damages that aren't linked to actual expenses incurred is a bit more dodgy.
Also, how certain can we be that the OP's case is negligence? If 99% of epilepsy cases present with symptoms XYZ and 99% of migraine shock cases present with symptoms ABC and OP had symptoms ABC not XYZ then that isn't negligence, it's bad luck. You can't sue for bad luck.
DSis sued the NHS. A badly performed, unsupervised minor operation led to her losing her job and almost losing her life. She was in a coma for weeks, and will have lifelong mobility, mental and continence issues. The hospital agreed to settle immediately (without admitting liability). It took 4 years of examinations, psychiatric assessments, legal meetings and so on before she got an award. The award was reduced because in the meantime she developed a life limiting condition (therefore the health board couldn't be responsible for loss of earnings). She also had to repay benefits received.
Not worth it. The surgeon had already been "medically retired" after allowing unqualified doctors to operate unsupervised. The money has gone to making her as comfortable as possible - wheelchairs, walking frames, private counselling (18 month wait for psychiatric support in her area). She was very right to sue.
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