We are being constantly reminded about a so called compensation culture in the country and the cost of having to deal with claims. This relentless criticism of victims can create the misunderstanding that it is their fault. This is particularly the case in Medical Negligence where victims who claim are made to feel responsible for draining the resources of the NHS.
At the same time the government is squeezing victims further by severely restricting access to legal aid.
In all of this the point is rarely made that the best way to avoid Medical Claims is to avoid the blunders in the first place. This is highlighted by the report in today’s Guardian that the NHS estimates that it will have to pay out £235.4m to 60 babies who suffered brain damage after negligent failure to diagnose and treat hypoglycaemia – low blood sugar. This is a preventable complication which should be identified provided straightforward testing is carried out.
According to one midwife in the Guardian report –
"Hypoglycaemia is something that in the majority of cases we should be detecting and preventing."
The compensation figures mentioned seem high but these children, who lives are devastated, will require 24 hr care for life.
These cases emphasise again the need for families to have access to expert legal advice with legal aid. Just the cost of investigating the case can run into thousands. These are cases which cry out for justice at the public expense especially when a lack of investment in midwives could be the cause.
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