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Cheshire Live has today reported on a ‘pattern of failures’ from Dr Mohammed Djawed Tahery, an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon, working at the Countess of Chester Hospital between 2007 and 2018, that resulted in him being struck from the medical register.

Dr Tahery’s conduct was considered at a Tribunal after he was accused of performing surgery to a lesser standard than should be expected, providing false information to patients in advance of surgery and inappropriately reassuring patients about the potential outcomes of surgery.  Further failures then followed when he did not acknowledge and assist when the patients returned with concerns.  6 separate patients gave evidence to the tribunal.  1 explaining that they had inappropriately been advised of a 0% risk of a poor outcome going into surgery and then having to live with the consequences of a poor outcome following surgery.

Following the hearing the tribunal panel reported that they considered that the treatment provided by Dr Tahery was ‘seriously below the standard expected of a competent rhinoplasty surgeon and this amounted to misconduct which is serious.’  He was also criticised for bringing his profession into disrepute with his poor behaviours.  He was struck from the medical register.

Dr Tahery provided care which was below the standard of a reasonable competent medical practitioner and as a direct consequence of that substandard care he caused his patient’s harm.    The practices outlined by the Tribunal are the basis for bringing a medical negligence claim.

If you have been treated by Dr Tahery and are concerned that his actions may have resulted in injury please contact us.  One of our specialist medical negligence team would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.

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In June the Supreme Court of England and Wales handed down a long awaited decision in respect of the Clinical Negligence case of Khan v Meadows. The case is important for ‘Wrongful Birth’ claims going forward but it is also going to have a wider impact on decisions we make in all clinical negligence. This is because the Supreme Court have now added the test of ‘scope of duty’ to the things we need to consider in deciding the prospects of success of our cases.

The claim related to a failure of the Claimant’s GP to arrange investigations to determine whether the Claimant carried a haemophilia gene. The Claimant wanted to know whether she carried the gene before having a baby. Her GP checked only whether she had haemophilia and not whether she carried the gene. In 2010 the Claimant went on to have a baby and shortly after birth her baby was diagnosed with haemophilia. It then transpired that the Claimant did carry the gene. The baby’s condition was complicated because he also suffered with autism. This made his haemophilia harder to treat.

It was the Claimant’s case that if she had known she had the haemophilia gene she would have had testing in her pregnancy; the testing would have determined that her baby had haemophilia and she would have terminated her pregnancy. On this basis she claimed compensation for the costs of bringing up her child with haemophilia and autism.

In clinical negligence claims we consider the following when deciding whether a case is likely to succeed:

  1. Does the healthcare professional owe the Claimant a duty of care (duty)?
  2. Was the treatment provided by that health professional below the standard of a reasonably competent practitioner (breach of duty)?
  3. As a direct consequence of the substandard treatment provided did the Claimant suffer injury (causation)?

The High Court Judge applied the usual principles in a clinical negligence claim and found that if the Defendant had not been negligent the Claimant’s baby wouldn’t have been born. The Claimant won.

The Defendant wasn’t happy with the decision and appealed. The Defendant’s case was that the GP was only asked to investigate whether the Claimant had a haemophilia gene. The Defendant was responsible for the baby being born with haemophilia but they should not be responsible for the costs of bringing up a child with autism because that wasn’t what the Claimant was trying to guard against when she sought the advice of her GP. Autism was not within the Defendant’s “Scope of Duty”. The Court of Appeal agreed with the Defendant.

This time the Claimant wasn’t happy with the decision and the Supreme Court were asked to make a decision about whether the Defendant should be responsible for all of the extra costs of bringing up the Claimant’s child or whether it was only responsible for the extra costs associated with the child having haemophilia. The Supreme Court found in favour of the Defendant.

The decision is important for Wrongful Birth claims because there is now a distinction between when the Claimant would want to terminate her pregnancy due to a specific condition or she would want to terminate any pregnancy.

The decision is also important for clinical negligence claims as a whole because we will now need to consider the ‘Scope of Duty’. The court has given us 6 tests that we will need to apply in each case but put simply we will need to consider exactly what the Claimant was seeking when they went to the health professional and the connection between that and the injury suffered. How the decision will affect clinical negligence claims in practice remains to be seen but we expect it to be most important in cases where a Claimant goes to a doctor for 1 problem and another problem could and should have been identified but was missed (for example an X-ray was looked at for a fractured rib but showed a lesion in the lung that turned out to be cancer. Is the doctor responsible for the failure to diagnose cancer because that wasn’t what they were asked to look at?). As always with big decisions in the courts time will tell!

 

If you are concerned about a failure of your health provider that has resulted in injury please get in touch and one of highly experienced clinical negligence team would be happy to discuss your concerns with you.

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A stroke happens when the blood supply to a part of your brain is cut off, killing the brain cells. The damage that this causes can affect how your body works in the future. A stroke is a medical emergency and urgent treatment is essential as the sooner a person receives treatment, the less damage is likely to occur.

The main symptoms of a stroke can be remembered with the acronym FAST:

F – face – has the patient’s face or eye dropped on one side, are they able to smile?

A – arms – can the patient lift their arms, are they experiencing unexplained weakness in one of both limbs?

S – speech – is the patient’s speech slurred or garbled, or are they unable to talk at all? Can they understand simple instructions?

T – time – if a patient is showing any of the above symptoms, you must call 999 immediately for assistance

Once you have arrived at hospital, anyone suspected of suffering a stroke should undergo a brain scan within 1 hour of their arrival. A swallow test should also be performed, to check their ability to swallow, as  problems with swallowing can cause food or drink to become lodged in their windpipe and lungs, leading to further complications such as aspiration, chest infections and pneumonia. Further tests on their heart and blood vessels should be done later, to ascertain the cause of the stroke.

Treatment for a stroke depends on the type of stroke, which part of the brain has been affected and what has caused the stroke in the first place. Usually treatment is a combination of medications and sometimes surgery. Patients are also likely to require rehabilitation following a stroke.

There are a number of areas where a clinical negligence claim may arise in the treatment of a suspected stroke, such as:

 

  • Substandard treatment causing the initial stroke (such as a failure to prescribe anticoagulation medication)
  • Failure or delay by the paramedics to respond to a patient with a suspect stroke within a reasonable time
  • Failure to detect and act upon the recognised symptoms of a stroke
  • Failure or delay in diagnosis of a stroke
  • Failure to commence appropriate treatment (such as anticoagulation medication) within a reasonable time
  • Failure or delay in arranging rehabilitation therapies (such as physiotherapy or speech and language therapy)

 

If you, or a loved one has suffered as a result of substandard treatment of a stroke, please contact Graystons Solicitors on 0151 645 0055 to see if we can help you.

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In January 2021, The Royal Free Hospital in London has been told by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that it must make immediate and significant improvements to its maternity services. This follows concerns regarding the death of a pregnant woman in February 2020.

CQC’s Deputy Chief Inspector Hospitals for London, Nigel Acheson, said:

“We inspected the Royal Free Hospital’s maternity services following the death of a pregnant woman in February, as we were not given assurance that the trust had learnt from the incident and introduced systems to keep patients safe.”

Inspectors rated the service inadequate due to reasons such as:

  • There was no clear vision or strategy. Leaders could not give assurance that they understood and managed the priorities and challenges that the service faced. Senior staff did not show sufficient understanding of potential risks and issues.
  • Systems to manage safety incidents were not always reliable or effective.
  • There were no written records to show that the trust had apologised to families and patients when things went wrong.
  • Staff did not always display a good understanding of the people who use their maternity services.

The services are being continually reviewed. Treatment resulting in substandard  care and avoidable injury could mean you have a viable clinical negligence claim and be awarded compensation for the harm caused.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence lawyers would be happy to speak with you and advise you of your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA).

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As reported by BBC News, during the period of April – June 2020, there were 40 stillbirths after labour began, compared with only 24 during the same period in 2019. The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch has advised that they will be investigating the reasons for this and they plan to publish their findings in 2021.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have expressed real concern about the figures and are urging women to attend their antenatal appointments.

The president of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Edward Morris, commenting on a survey which reported that 86% of maternity units saw fewer heavily women present with emergency issues during April, suggested that this may have been due to confusion about whether or not these appointments were essential, fear of attending a hospital or not wanting to burden the NHS.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists are carrying out their own investigation into the indirect effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on pregnancy outcomes. They are also urging hospitals not to redeploy maternity staff during the second wave.

It is well reported that the Covid-19 pandemic is having an effect on patients’ access to not only maternity care but many other kinds of healthcare services and treatment. There can be no doubt that clinical negligence claims in relation to the difficulties that covid-19 has caused will likely have to be handled differently to cases where the reasons for these difficulties were unrelated to Covid-19. This is because account will inevitably need to be taken of the challenges faced by the NHS and, as a result, careful consideration will likely need to be given to whether or not Covid-19 was a valid reason for the difficulties in accessing these services and treatments.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered harm due to an inability to access healthcare services and/or treatment throughout the pandemic, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA)”

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At the beginning of October I attended APILs (Association of Personal Injury Lawyers) annual clinical negligence conference. This year the topic for discussion over 2 days was cancer. I listened to speakers with backgrounds in various cancer specialities and barristers giving updates on the law in the last 12 months. All of the speakers were excellent but I was particularly struck by the discussion on the impact of Covid on our cancer care system from a Professor of Oncology.

She talked about the current challenges faced by the NHS cancer service and the problems facing cancer patients but her message was clear: if you have a concern about a potential cancer you must go to the doctors and seek help no matter what the current challenges in hospitals. The NHS is open for business!

The potential harm that she described because of Covid could be terrifying if the predictions are correct. In March 2020 cancer screening was stopped, treatments postponed and clinics cancelled. The result is a cancer backlog estimated at 80,000 patients. Cancer specialists are predicting 35,000 avoidable deaths and an estimated 60,000 lost life years. The NHS is still not running at full speed and some are estimating that it could take 5 years to catch up and that is not accounting for what may happen over the coming winter.

Whilst the advice from specialists is that the NHS is open, it is not working to its normal capacity and if you need treatment you must get into the system and onto the waiting lists.

In my medical negligence practice I see a lot of potential delay in diagnosis of cancer cases even pre Covid. The fear now is that because of Covid those cases will increase. Cancer that should have been diagnosed and treated in 2019, for example, but were missed and diagnosed in 2020 has hit the Covid backlog and treatment will be further delayed. There will also be patients who sought treatment earlier but are now too scared to go to hospital because of their fear of Covid are not getting the treatment they need.

The way claims involving cancer are dealt with will probably change in the coming years to take account of the challenges faced by the NHS. We will need to give careful consideration to when Covid cannot be a valid reason for failing to diagnose and treat or for mistakes made that were unreasonable. At Graystons we are committed to keeping up to date with changes and we will always fight for our clients who have been injured as a consequence of substandard care.

If you are worried in respect of cancer care or treatment you have received please contact us and one of our specialist team will be happy to discuss your concerns.

 

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A recent article published in the Liverpool Echo has detailed the tragic circumstances of the death of a father from Huyton following a seizure from alcohol withdrawal.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/dad-who-asked-sectioned-died-18885812

It is understood that Steven Rimmer, who was know to have alcohol dependency and had suffered previously with his mental health, had become progressively worse during recent months. North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Trust are currently investigating a complaint made by the family who have concerns that he was not listened to and appropriate action or treatment was not provided. Steven sadly suffered a fatal seizure on 21 July 2020 having tried to reduce his alcohol intake himself.

If you have worries that a loved one has suffered in similar circumstances and would like some medical negligence advice, please do give a member of Graystons Solicitors a call on 0151 645 0055. There is no charge for this initial advice and we will be able to discuss your options, including how to fund a legal claim and the possibility of a no win no fee agreement.

 

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As reported by BBC News, Susan Warby suffered a perforated bowel in July 2018 for which she received treatment from West Suffolk Hospital. After her surgery, Ms Warby was mistakenly given a dextrose drip instead of a saline drip and remained on the wrong drip for some 36 hours. Staff noted a rise in her blood sugar levels but, instead of checking the drip, they administered Ms Warby with insulin. This was held by coroner, Nigel Parsley, to have contributed to Ms Warby’s tragic death on 30th July 2018.

Delivering his conclusion, Nigel Parsley stated that “Susan Warby died as the result of the progression of a naturally occurring illness (her bowel perforation), contributed to by unnecessary insulin treatment, caused by erroneous blood test results.” He further stated that “This, in combination with her other co-morbidities reduced her physiological reserves to fight her naturally occurring illness.”

The Trust have apologised for the failings in Ms Warby’s care and have promised to review the coroner’s findings in detail.

At Graystons we are very experienced in helping guide families  through inquests. In cases where clinical negligence has contributed to a loved ones death we are able to help you through the inquest process and help you to investigate what has happened and hopefully get some answers.

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As reported by the Liverpool Echo, in June 2018 Alexandra Hodson received a diagnosis of cervical cancer following her first smear test.

Prior to this, Ms Hodson had presented to her GP surgery with classic symptoms of the cervical cancer including bleeding between periods and pain during, and after, sexual intercourse. A nurse apparently advised Ms Hodson that her symptoms were normal and likely as a result of her contraceptive injection.

Following Ms Hodson’s first smear test, a tumour was found in her cervix and she commenced radiotherapy and chemotherapy. In April 2020, her family received the devastating news that treatment had been ineffective and Ms Hodson’s cancer was terminal.

Ms Hodson tragically passed away on 8th August 2020.

If you believe that you, or a loved one, have suffered a delay in the diagnosis of cancer because of suspected clinical negligence, one of our specialist clinical negligence solicitors would be happy to speak with you and advise you as to your options, including a formal complaint and a legal claim. There is no initial charge for discussing this with us and we will talk you through your options, including how to fund a case and the possibility of a no win no fee arrangement (conditional fee agreement or CFA)”

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As a result of the pandemic, patients accessing medical treatment during lock-down have faced cancellations and seen their treatment coming to a standstill. In some cases telephone or video appointments have been offered and NHS bodies including NHS England have encouraged both telephone and video consultations as a means of patients receiving ongoing healthcare.

According to NHS England, the decision to offer this type of appointment is to be made on a case by case basis, by an appropriate medical professional, and should be assessed based on the patient’s individual circumstances and care needs.

Many hospital trusts are highlighting cost and time savings for the NHS, as well as the additional convenience for elderly and disabled patients who struggle to attend appointments. 

 There is however a concern that reducing face to face consultations will lead to symptoms and conditions being overlooked, or missed entirely. It is also unclear what part the patient is able to play in making the decision about whether to see someone in person or attend a telephone or video consultation.

 At Graystons, we have years of experience in acting for patients with medical negligence claims. Although the use of technology as a means to benefit patients is to be welcomed,  it is clear from our extensive experience of dealing with medical negligence claims that there is no substitute for a thorough physical examination and proper history obtained from from the patient in person.

If you are concerned about treatment provided to you or a loved one, please contact one of our specialist medical negligence solicitors who will be happy to discuss things with you. There is no charge for this initial advice and we will be able to discuss your options, including how to fund a legal claim and the possibility of a no win no fee agreement.