A MEDICAL negligence lawyer in York has warned that hospital patients who feel their medical staff have not outlined the risks of invasive procedures are turning detective to take legal redress.
The Clinical Negligence and Catastrophic Injury division of Harrowells Solicitors, York, launched in 2011 and recovered more than £11 million in damages for victims of very serious injuries in 2013.
They said internet research by aggrieved patients is creating a rise in legal cases against doctors and surgeons failing to involve them under “informed consent” guidelines laid down by the General Medical Council.
Kim Daniells, partner in CNCI, said: “Patients are better informed than ever before and make their own inquiries about proposed investigations or treatment. Crucially, when problems occur, there is a wealth of information on the internet to help them find out how and why problems may have occurred.”
One case of alleged lack of informed consent being pursued by medical negligence lawyers at CNCI, York, is that of a woman in her 40s from North Yorkshire who needed throat surgery.
Although the condition for which she underwent surgery in an NHS hospital has a small, but well-established, risk of a tracheostomy – surgery to create a neck opening at the front of the windpipe to aid breathing – she says she was never told this might be necessary.
After complications caused breathing problems, she had to be hospitalised for weeks and required a tracheostomy for months. She was unable work for a year, but is making a slow recovery.