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Personal Injuries Compensation Claims Against the NHS Rise by almost 20 per cent

June 7, 2013

The number of personal injuries compensation claims against the NHS has risen by almost one-fifth in the past year according to figures published by the Compensation Recovery Unit of the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

The DWP´s Compensation Recovery Unit is liable for claiming back the cost of healthcare and certain specific state benefits from individuals who have made successful personal injuries compensation claims against the NHS.

In the year 2012/13, figures recently published show that 16,006 compensation claims for personal injuries against the NHS were registered with the Compensation Recovery Unit – an surge of 2,489 over the corresponding figures for 2011/12 and nearly twice the number of NHS compensation claims made in 2007/08 (8,876).

Remarking on the increasing trend, a spokesperson from the Department of Health stated “Whilst we know the vast majority of patients get good, safe care, the best way to reduce compensation claims is to improve patient safety further – and this is a priority.” However, the news of the number of NHS personal injuries compensation claims registered last year caused alarm in many circles.

Chairperson of the Commons Public Accounts Committee – Margaret Hodge – said the figures were “deeply worrying” and said that the quality of healthcare provided by the NHS was a “major concern”, while Chief Executive of the Patients Association – Katherine Murphy – said “I think the public has become far less tolerant about putting up with appalling failings in care, but most people only pursue legal action when every other avenue has failed”.

Ms Murphy´s opinion was mirrored by a leading medical negligence compensation solicitor who said “In the past, victims of medical accidents often had moral reservations about claiming against the NHS, despite having clearly suffered extreme negligence in some cases, but the shocking findings of the Francis report have now made hospitals fair game in the eyes of the public.”

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Family’s of Lung Cancer Victim’s Misdiagnosis Compensation Claim Settled Out of Court

April 29, 2013

The family of a man, who died from cancer two years after being diagnosed with a serious chest infection, have settled their lung cancer victim’s misdiagnosis compensation claim against Coventry University Hospital.

Frank Golby from Whoberley in Coventry passed away the day after receiving a correct diagnosis of lung cancer – twenty-one months after first going to Coventry University Hospital complaining of a persistent cough and undergoing a CT scan.

The CT scan in May 2010 had uncovered a 1cm-wide nodule on his left lung, but doctors had overlooked it and, rather than review the scan when Frank again attended the hospital complaining of breathing problems and anaemia, another chest x-ray was not conducted until February 2012.

After seeking legal guidance, Frank´s family made a lung cancer victim’s misdiagnosis claim against University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust; claiming that had the hospital properly identified the growth on Frank´s lung at the time of the original scan, he would have received medical treatment that could have extended his life by ten years.

After an investigation into the events surrounding Frank´s misdiagnosis, the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust acknowledged their liability for the mistake and an apology was issued to his (Frank´s) family. An undisclosed five-figure settlement was agreed between solicitors representing the family and the hospital in respect of the lung cancer victim’s misdiagnosis compensation claim.

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C-section Claim for Death After Made Against HSE in Ireland

February 21, 2013

A man, whose wife passed away after she had given birth to their son via a Caesarean section procedure, has made a c-section claim death against the Health Service Executive in Ireland.

Dhara Kivlehan, aged 29 from County Sligo, had given birth to her son – Dior – on 21st September 2010 via a Caesarean section surgical procedure but, soon after the operation, suffered multiple organ shut-down secondary to HELLP syndrome – a variant of pre-eclampsia. Dhara was speeded to Belfast´s Royal Victoria Hospital to receive specialist emergency treatment, but died on September 29th.

Mr Kivlehan’s spouse – Kevin Kivlehan, 33-years-old, – asked the Belfast Coroner for an inquiry into Mrs Kivlehan’s death, but his request was turned down. Now he has requested the Coroner for Sligo to look into the events that occurred at the time of his wife’s death and made a claim against the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE).

No decision has yet been released by the coroner, but the HSE is expected to refute the claim for death after Caesarean, and the claims of breach of duty and negligence by Mr Kivlehan, after the symptoms of hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and a low latelet count were supposedly not recorded and medically treated in time to prevent his wife’s death.

A High Court ruling on whether the HSE have a case to answer in relation to the C-section claim death is expected soon

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Class Action Compensation Settlement for Faulty DePuy Medical Device Approved

December 13, 2012

A class action compensation settlement for faulty DePuy medical device has been approved by a judge in Australian Federal court which will allow compensation payment for faulty DePuy knee implants to get underway.

The class action lawsuit action was initiated in March 2010 following the worldwide recall of the DePuy LCS Duofix Femoral knee replacement in July 2009. The recall was issued after a higher proportion of failure than anticipated was noticed after the knee implants were used in surgical operations – the possilbe cause of this being Alumina particles in the replacement.

Under the specific terms of the class action settlement, DePuy are to pay A$30,000 to claimants who had one revision to the faulty knee implant but needed no further surgery. Claimants who needed two or more surgical procedures following the first revision procedure are to receive A$65,000, and claimants who have undergone significant complications or loss of amenity will have their claims for faulty DePuy knee implant compensation assessed on an case-by-case basis.

The presiding Judge in the case, Justice Robert Buchanan approved the agreement in the class action case – which had been agreed upon in August in the Pamela Joan Casey v. DePuy International Ltd class action lead case – after looking into 430 inquiries into the suggested compensation settlement. Commenting in his final remarks on the case he said that none of the inquiries gave him due cause not to approve the compensation settlement for faulty DePuy knee implants.

Click here for more about medical device recalls in the United Kingdom.

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Delayed Birth Compensation Awarded at Court

October 27, 2012

The family of a boy, who suffered brain damage due to being starved of oxygen prior to his birth, have had been awarded compensation for delayed birth at the Royal Courts of Justice.

Joseph O´Reggio (11) from Wolverhampton, was born at the city´s New Cross Hospital in 2001 following an alleged failure by the hospital staff to monitor his mother – Rachel – during the later stages of her pregnancy. As a result of the alleged hospital negligence, Joseph was starved of oxygen before to his birth and was brain damaged by the time he was delivered – later developing severe cerebral palsy.

Joseph´s parents made a claim for delayed birth compensation on the grounds that the Joseph´s heart rate had fallen on the morning of April 14th 2001, but a specialist was not summoned until 10.00pm that evening. As a result of the delayed birth, Joseph now requires 24-hour care and is unable to speak or feed himself.

In 2011, the High Court heard that Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust admitted that Joseph should have been born earlie than he wasr, but would not accept full liability for his injuries. However, an agreement was negotiated between he parties in which the Trust would pay annual periodic payments amounting to an 80 percent valuation of a full compensation for delayed treatment settlement.

At the Royal Courts of Justice, the family heard that the package of compensation for delayed birth amounted to 6 million pounds – based on Joseph´s anticipated life expectancy – and will be sufficient for the family to move into a specially adapted home with the specialist rehabilitation equipment that Joseph needs to develop his skills with hearing, sight, taste, touch, language and hand-eye co-ordination.

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Negligence Injury Claims Against NHS Rise due to Increased Awareness

January 18, 2012

Increased awareness of patient rights has resulted in a dramatic increase in injury claims for medical negligence against the National Health Service (NHS). According to government figures, the number of injury claims made in the past five years has increased 5,697 to 8,655 per year, and has forced the NHS Litigation Authority to seek additional funding from the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansbury.

Tom Fothergill, financial director of the NHS Litigation Authority, said that marketing by “No Win, No Fee” solicitors had contributed to the public body´s financial shortfall and had added a premium to legal costs. However, he was also quick to state that legislation which linked the wages of claimants´ carers to earnings rather than inflation has also led to increased payouts.

With approximately 100 claims for medical negligence a year relating to medical injury claims, and the average value of each claim close to 6 million pounds in the lifetime of the child, an improvement in the survival rates of brain damaged babies – who will require a lifetime of care – has also placed significant strain on the NHS Litigation Authority´s budget.

A further 185 million pounds is needed by the NHS Litigation Authority to prevent it running out of money by the end of the financial year, a sum which has been approved by Mr Lansbury and health minister Lord Howe. After the announcement of the bail-out Lord Howe said “Following a review of claims, we have made additional funds available to the NHS Litigation Authority in order to make sure that those claimants who are entitled to compensation receive it in a timely way.”

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Contributory Negligence Cuts Fatal Work Injury Claims Award

December 21, 2011

The family of a man who suffered a fatal work accident has had the settlement of their compensation award reduced due to the man´s contributory negligence.

Ronan Conway (27) of Kilcullen, County Wicklow, suffered his fatal injuries while working for OB Sales and Hire Limited – also of Kilcullen, County Wicklow – in November 2008. Leaving the cab of his digger to examine something in the ground in front of him, Ronan omitted to lock the safety lever and was crushed between his digger and another vehicle working in the yard.

Ronan´s fiancée, Anne Marie Morgan (30), brought a compensation claim for fatal work accident against his former employers, alleging that the yard in which Ronan was working was inadequately lit, but the company denied the claim and said that it was Ronan´s own negligence which had caused the accident.

In the court, Mr Justice John Quirke heard that the two parties had now come to an agreement over a settlement of fatal work accident compensation that took into account Ronan´s contributory negligence. The total compensation amount once adjusted came to 550,000 Euros – a figure which Mr Justice John Quirke approved, extending his condolences to Ms Morgan and Ronan´s family.

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