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Medical Negligence

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My wife recently had an operation that had to be repeated a second time round as the first was not done correctly.


This has resultes in her been in pain, bleeding more than she should and has now left her unlikely to be able to carry any more children.


The consultant who performed her second operation informed my wife that the first had not been carried out correctly as if it had there would have been no need for the second one.


What we were wondering is how do we go about obtaining her medical records and is it good enough grounds to claim negligence as my wife has been left suffering and we now have to face the possiblity of not been able to have any more children.



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It would depend on whether the initial operation being performed incorrectly was as the result of a complication, circumstances beyond their control, or malpractice/negligence.


Before you contact any lawyer, I'd first obtain a copy of her medical records to determine exactly what went wrong, to see if it is worth pursuing. It may be best if you can view the records with medical personnel present as there may be some medical terms/abbreviations which can be difficult for the layperson to comprehend.


To obtain a copy of her medical records for your own use, she would need to write a letter to the records department of the hospital, who will pass her request to the data controller for action. They can charge for copies of medical records.


May I just say - you and your wife have my utmost empathy. I know this does not help you - I hope you manage to get somewhere on this

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.



Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)





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The consultant said the first operation hadn't been carried out correctly. New surgeons have to practise on someone. I had an op when I was a child - a new surgeon did it and I had to have two ops to correct it. What he did was such a mess it couldn't be repaired in one!!


I forgot to mention that you should of course write to the hospital for a copy of the medical records, as Erika says above, and the lawyer I recommended will ask you to do this first, as they did my friend.


However, there is no reason not to contact the lawyer I pm'd you about. They are very nice, and it won't cost you a penny to speak to them about your case.


The Hospital Records department may not make a charge if they know you are in touch with a lawyer.



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Hi James,


You need to proceed as suggested by ErikaPNP - agree with everything she says (and you have my empathy as well).


My family took a case to an out of court settlement (including "re-training") for a surgeon - this is emotive and complex stuff but where there is clear negligence or malpractice you can arrive at something of a satisfactory conclusion to a complaint/legal action although it is often a long and difficult road.


It might be that you arrive at consulting a solicitor (one that specialises in medical negligence) and there is no harm in accessing one for an initial chat where no fee was involved (but choose carefully). We started like this, took some direction from ours, went and did some research and then went back and started the ball rolling once we were clear in our minds (and with some of what we had gathered) that there was likely a case.


In a claim for healthcare negligence you generally have to prove that harm has been caused (usually the more straightforward part) and that the actions (or omissions) by individual(s), the hospital or both caused that harm (so called "causative link"). At first look this often appears straightforward but once you get into the details proving the "causative link" can be very difficult because of the complexities of healthcare provision.


Will try and help if I can, think you should definetly do some prelimary work around if you might want to proceed toward negligence claim.


Best wishes to you both and best of luck :)

MJC 007.5 :cool:


Advice or opinions offered by mjc 007.5 are personal, offered in good faith and without prejudice or liability. Your decisions and actions are your own and should you be in any doubt then please seek the opinion of a fully qualified and insured professional


:) If you think I have helped you please feel free to click on my scales :)

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Just to reassure everyone, the lawyer I recommended to James in the pm is one of the best in the country and won't charge a thing for a preliminary chat. I don't know if I am allowed to recommend a particular solicitor here which is why I pm'd him.


They are doing a really terrific job for my friend. I found out she was about to sign up with a TV-advertising lawyer who wanted immediately to issue proceedings in their local court for such a tiny settlement the health authority would have been laughing all the way to the bank - and that lawyer would have been too.


If James's wife will no longer be able to have children and it is negligence, that will be a very serious claim.



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Hi DD,


Agree with you completely that sound legal advice specialising in medical negligence is the way to go - there are a lot of ambulance chasers out there and the best legal advice in this area will always emphasise that it is often a long and messy haul to get a result. I am glad your friend is getting the right advice and progressing in her case.


I was just trying to add some detail from both personal experience and healthcare background. Whilst there is (as with any profession) negligence and malpractice out there (which is all the more serious because of the fact it relates to peoples health and the subsequent impact it has on their lives) it is usually a difficult thing to prove successfully because of the many different things that impact on an outcome. A surgeon that says a previous operation was not performed properly to the patient and their family during care will often take an awful lot of persuading to back that statement up once legal process is started :-|


Agree that with James and his wife if negligence is involved then it indeed be a very serious claim indeed


All the best

MJC 007.5 :cool:


Advice or opinions offered by mjc 007.5 are personal, offered in good faith and without prejudice or liability. Your decisions and actions are your own and should you be in any doubt then please seek the opinion of a fully qualified and insured professional


:) If you think I have helped you please feel free to click on my scales :)

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Hi James.


First up, please do contact The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (often known as PALS) at the hospital where the operation took place. They will be able to advise you on that hospitals procedures for getting hold of medical records, which of course you are entitled to under the Freedom of Information Act. There may be a charge for this, and if there is it's usually somewhere around £15.


Keep everything in writing, and keep copies - I'd also recommend sending any letters recorded delivery. If you do decide to go down the litigation path, all of this will help. I know all of this seems long winded, and when you're worried and upset it's tempting to grab the nearest phone and start making phone calls, but you'll have a much clearer record if everything is in writing. Might sound daft, but sometimes writing everything down triggers memories of things you hadn't remembered before as well, so it's well worth it.


I'm truly sorry you've had a bad experience - having surgery is never a happy experience to start off with and I really hope your wife starts to make a good recovery soon.


Best wishes.

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  • 4 weeks later...

my legal fees alone for my case were 120 thousand pounds...over nine years...its a long road..


you need expert advice for all this and doing things like getting your own records is not advisable because what happens as in my case some went missing....they could blame you ect ect..leave it to the good lawyers out there..

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120K geoffthechef?! God help me, I made the wrong profession choice. Did you have to pay this yourself and what was the outcome? Do you think it was worth the while?


I have to say I disagree with you about leaving it all to the lawyers. I've come to the conclusion that professionals and experts rarely match their description. They'll charge you through the nose for something that you are more than capable of doing yourself. You, rather than the lawyers, are more likely to spot missing data because the 'negligence' happened to you.


I would advocate speaking to the AVMA. Their advice is objective and free.

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Hi Sali, I didn't want to upset anyone, because I could not accept Geoff's opinion when I read his remark of "leaving it all to the lawyers". But, I can now support what Sali has stated.

It was the worst experience I ever made. "Nepotism" is rife between the Medico/legal profession.

I lost my wife after 3 weeks of being diagnosed with "Tongue" cancer. I tried 14 firms of solicitors, none were interested, because the Coroner only recorded "Metastatic Lung Carcinoma" on the death certificate. Lung cancer has a poor 5 year survival rate and solicitors rate any compensation payment would be cost prohibitive with that of fighting the case?

I then took the only course available of gaining access to 317 of her medical notes. After them being returned to me by one of London's largest Med neg solicitors, I put them away in the office desk until I bought a new PC and accidentally erased one of the notes, I got the A4 envelope out and only 200 notes were there. Thank God I scanned them before letting the parasite solicitors see them.

I wasn't initially looking for compensation, because she had been a smoker for 40 years, but the grief and cover up has made me want blood. And I don't mean from their path lab?

To substain my claim, please have a read at;

Doctor facing disciplinary action over drug prescriptions - Telegraph

and any further links on Gosport cover up.

Controversial NHS scheme 'designed to improve care' - Telegraph

Regards, Bill.

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120K geoffthechef?! God help me, I made the wrong profession choice. Did you have to pay this yourself and what was the outcome? Do you think it was worth the while?


Hmmm. I smell "No Win, No Fee" artificial cost hiking. :rolleyes:


I fully agree that anyone who's life has been impacted by medical negligence should be compensated, but damn....the thought that these ambulance chasers are now sat on the annual wage of 4 well qualified nurses makes me :-x.


I wish there were some way to introduce a more impartial system for looking at these claims that doesn't include the use of this dodgy lot. Something like the Criminal Injury Board, who could assess cases individually without the need for legal representation from either party.


Back on topic, though. I'm sorry that the people in this thread have had such negative experiences. I hope one way or another, everything is resolved for you.

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They are no win, no fee, because the average person would just not have the funds to start proceedings which may go on for many years, in cases of both botched operations, and also where someone has been knocked down in the street and left physically and mentally damaged through no fault of their own.


£120,000 over nine years is just over £1,000 a month which is about four hours work for the average solicitor. The cases have to go on for years because they can't be settled until operations, treatments, etc., have happened and the outcome/likely lifetime outcome can be properly assessed.


Of course there will be cowboys, but there are some good ones too. The worst ones out there are the ones who advertise on TV and offer immediate settlements of £15,000 for any problem, and immediately start proceedings in their local courts for this amount without explaining to their clients that taking this settlement will preclude them from ever claiming again even if their condition gets worse. They really are laughing all the way to the bank as are the medical botchers who must be thrilled when they hear from one of this lot and will settle quickly knowing they've probably saved themselves a fortune.


I'm so sorry about your wife, Bill. What an appalling thing to have happened. I hope the solicitors are compensating you for that at least. I'll have a look at the links you posted.



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Hi Daniella, would it surprise you when I say I don't have a solicitor?

I havn't needed to use my legal insurance, as I've been unable to engage a solicitor, because they have all said that I would not be able to prove "causation" (she was an ex-smoker). Solicitors then state that, "lung cancer has a poor 5 year prognosis" and any compensation payment, if proven, would be minimal.

With resources available from the internet, I've conducted everything myself. I have been able to contact the Professor in anaesthesia, who whistleblew on the Bristol Royal Infirmary baby premature deaths who has condemned the anaesthetic drugs used on my late partner.

The past 3 years have included "local resolution", 2 Independent Reviews and the Healthcare Commission. An application is now before the Health Ombudsman.

To summarize as brief as possible;

My partner elected for a day surgery biopsy of a neck mass and a bronchoscopy. Post-op she suffered a bronchospasm and had an emergency tracheotomy to open her airway. She then spent 3 days in ICU, came back to the nursing ward and told of the "Tongue Cancer" diagnosis a week later. A fortnight later she passed away.

Can anyone tell me of an instance where someone has passed away from any form of cancer, within 3 weeks of the initial diagnosis?

Three days later, I received a call from a Coroner's Officer stating that I could collect the death certificate. He added, "whilst I have you on the phone, I can confirm death will be recorded as Lung cancer".

I questioned, "Why, when she was diagnosed with Tongue cancer". His reply, "for the purposes of death, I have to state where the cancer originated".

Then, alarm bells rang when, bizarrely, he stated that, "because I was only her partner" (although I am documented as Next of Kin) "I would not be able to request a hospital/family Post-Mortem".

I obtained her medical notes and discovered that, 10 months earlier, a "lung shadow" had been documented.

Following local resolution and two independant reviews, the Healthcare Commissions "clinical advisers" have assured us that all CXR's show no sign of lung cancer. Including the last CXR taken 3 weeks before passing away.

The cancer only happened to be diagnosed following an admission for day surgery biopsy of a neck mass that began in March '05. The clinical advisers have failed to answer my reasonable request of, "how did cancer metastasize (spread) to her neck in March '05, when the final CXR, dated 6/09/05, showed no sign of cancer?"

Scrutinizing her notes, I discovered C Difficile documented a week before passing and Morphine was used for pain relief, when she was asthmatic with COPD. I've told the Health Ombudsman, point blank, that I suspect that I was refused a PM, to avoid a pathologist discovering the true extent of the cancer and morphine toxicity.

The reason I've never sought publicity, is because I've seen reports of too many cases that people have done so and before the case either goes to print, or broadcast on the news, the hospital management have had time to lose any incriminating evidence.

I hope my last paragraph gives "food for thought" for other's that may receive a similar experience. And remember, fight fire with fire.


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Hi MsWeatherwax, that's extremely kind of you. The hospital management only have theirselves to blame for this escalating to it's current position.

I'm honestly of the old school that if they had have just said, "Sorry, we messed up", that would have been the end of the matter. Even the kids have agreed, that if Mom's cancer came from smoking, there's no room to complain.

When I submitted the initial complaint, the complaints manager replied stating, "because the Coroner's Officer is not directly employed by the NHS, any complaint levied towards him falls outside the remit of the NHS complaints scheme.

I later learnt that a seperate complaint would have to be made to the Home Office or Jack Straws Ministry of Justice.

Thankfully, the Acute Medicine Manager addressed the issue. When I complained that I was unallowed to request a Post-Mortem, he stated that the hospital's Legal Services Manager liaised with my partner's "nearest living relatives", (her adult children in America) AND that they declined permission for a PM. After I emailed their first response to them, they were outraged, because no one from the hospital had contacted them. When I brought this to the complaints manager's attention, his next reply stated that my partner's brother rang the hospital on 23rd Sept to seek a PM. Her brother categorically states that he never did.

When I escalated the complaint to the Healthcare Commission, the case manager asked for copies of communication from the legal services manager, because I claimed that no contact had been made. The hospital managers must be short of brain cells, because the correspondence was dated 21st Sept. They couldn't even fake a letter with the correct date.

I've just let them carry on digging a bigger hole?

Us more mature citizens possess the hindsight that it'll all come out in the wash.

I honestly feel sorry for the nursing staff and doctors that are governed by people without any medical qualifications. Let alone, other complainants that either lack the stamina and tenacity to survive this ordeal, or are not able to put pen to paper.

Kind regards, Bill.

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It seems that littlewillie, like most of us who have had a very negative experience with the NHS, only want to a transparent investigation, the truth and an apology where there has been an avoidable mistake or failure. Instead it seems that we have an NHS management (a percentage of whom are senior nurses and consultants) that is adept at avoiding blame and evading responsibility. The pain their actions cause to the damaged patient or bereaved relatives cannot be underestimated.


I do not advocate a blame culture, but it seems to me that there is absolutely no accountability. I am extremely concerned as a potential patient that sub-standard doctors and nurses (a minority but signifcant all the same) continue to practice and are managed by people whose goal is to keep within budgets and meet government targets to the detriment of the patients and their own staff.


Keep going littlewille, if you can. It sounds as if the entire system is conspiring against you exposing the truth. I hope you do.


One last point. I see that Margaret Haywood, the nurse that was struck off earlier this year for exposing poor care within the NHS, is to be allowed back into the profession. It's a shame that she was struck off in the first place and after hearing her interviewed after the High Court's decision I am not confident that she would make the same decision again. Considering what she has been through it is not a surprise. I am sure it also sends out a very negative message to all the other good nurses and doctors not to rock the boat. God help the NHS and all who sail in her!

Edited by Sali
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  • 3 weeks later...
120K geoffthechef?! God help me, I made the wrong profession choice. Did you have to pay this yourself and what was the outcome? Do you think it was worth the while?


I have to say I disagree with you about leaving it all to the lawyers. I've come to the conclusion that professionals and experts rarely match their description. They'll charge you through the nose for something that you are more than capable of doing yourself. You, rather than the lawyers, are more likely to spot missing data because the 'negligence' happened to you.


I would advocate speaking to the AVMA. Their advice is objective and free.


worth every penny and they where one of the best in the uk.my medical team on my side were top professors in their field and they do not come cheap..my paperwork alone (that's just what i collected) was over 3000 pages and more with reports.. i never had to pay a penny as i was covered by my house insurance and legal aid..we settled out of court for a high end six figure sum..plus costs.:smile: anyone need any info ask .but believe me its a very long long road you go down with obstacles placed in your way all the time...


ps AVMA are the way to go first.

Edited by geoffthechef
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  • 4 years later...

Hi Sali, you said "keep going" and I still am. As Geoff said "it can be a long road" which I never expected.

Since my last post in 2009 a Solicitor finally took the case on in November 2012 and has issued the defendant Trust with 12 charges for a wrongful death. The Trust are still in denial and have raised the fact that I'm beyond the 3 years limitation period. All evidence is within the years of correspondence that they deliberately stalled their responses to expire the limitation period. It's a usual tactic the NHS complaints dept. are known for. Probably thinking they're untouchable there is no limitation for "gross negligent manslaughter". My late wife was terminally sedated by way of the Liverpool Care Pathway when she was not terminally ill. The Consultant surgeon had misdiagnosed her multiple pulmonary emboli as lung cancer.

A few words of warning: If you have even an inkling that something has gone untoward in someone's healthcare for God's sake don't seek media attention before obtaining ALL medical notes. Before a reporter can print, or broadcast, your concerns they will need to interview the defending Trust which will give them a red light that a formal complaint will forthcoming and they will lose, mislay, destroy or "doctor" any incriminating evidence.

Though I practiced what I preach I wasn't prepared for the following corruption. A large London office of Solicitors, who said I had no claim, advised that once I obtained the medical notes and if I believed a claim was still warranted, forward the notes to them for a second appraisal. Which I did.

When they returned the notes in an A4 envelope I simply placed them in an office desk drawer because I had previously scanned all 317 notes to the PC's hard-drive. Eighteen months later I accidentally deleted 2 notes and had to access the hard copies from the drawer only to discover that the solicitors, or shysters, had retained (stolen) 100 of the original notes.

On serving the writ to the Trust the aim of requesting all medical notes 8 years later was to determine whether the Trust would supply an identical set of notes. Sadly, but without concern, the Trust have stated that all of my late wife's notes were destroyed.

I don't take fools lightly and intend to teach the NHS a lesson. A lesson that might include advice I was given as a lad, to


  1. "never let the right hand know what the left is doing",
  2. "always play your cards close to your chest",
  3. "never volunteer information" and when necessary
  4. "fight fire with fire".
    It's sad that today's world has become so corrupt and surprising that those authorities who think they can roughshod us mere peasants can't realise that when we can share and inform one another through social networking and forums, their days of relying on past complacent lying are over?

Best regards, Will

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  • 1 month later...


Before you contact any lawyer, I'd first obtain a copy of her medical records to determine exactly what went wrong, to see if it is worth pursuing. It may be best if you can view the records with medical personnel present as there may be some medical terms/abbreviations which can be difficult for the layperson to comprehend.


Hi where to find a medical personal to evaluate a report. Are they provided by nhs or privately with a fee. Just want an opinion before taking any further than present PALS complaint.



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Hi Sali, you said "keep going" and I still am. As Geoff said "it can be a long road" which I never expected.


Hey littlewille

Your tale is far too common and makes me want to scream with rage. It is cruel and heartless the way the NHS treats those they have damaged or bereaved. These delaying and underhand tactics are used to wear out the souls of complainants and, often as not, it works. I am sure it is your burning anger at the injustice (nothing wrong with that, it kept me breathing) that makes you fight on.


The Trust destroyed your wife's files? My understanding is that they have to be kept for at least ten years after decease. You could check this with the ICO.


I completely agree with your advice - never volunteer information etc. Sadly, it is only after we have been mistreated by big organisations like the NHS that we realise how foolish it is to trust indiscriminately. There's another thread started by Nolegion about audio recording. I do alot of that now.


Come back and update us. I wish you all success.


(As an aside it is sometimes possible to recover deleted items from hard drives, although it should be done sooner rather than later).

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Hi Sali, thanks for your reply and kind supportive words.

As my initial post reveals I began my quest for the truth in September '05 and will come back with updates to help others beat the system.

It's heart-breaking to now learn that there are many that have fallen by the way when they've not had the tenacity to pursue their case, or run out of funds.

The issue of my late Darling's medical notes being destroyed is of no problem. My Solicitor simply requested all medical notes last January as an exercise to see if they differed from the original set that I obtained in January 2006. Because I scanned every 317 notes to the hard-drive, before allowing the first Solicitors have copies, I was able to print all notes again from the PC. When my current Solicitor accepted my case I firstly sent a CD of all medical notes, the Healthcare Commission's Independent Reviews, the Ombudsman's report and my independent medical expert report.


You are correct that medical notes are only held for 10 years but only by a GP. An NHS Trust can legally destroy a deceased patients notes after 8 years.

My greatest grievance, after unnecessarily losing my late wife, was the 9 years, so far, to reach conclusion. Nobody should have to endure years of unnecessary prolongation of a complaint.

According to other complainants I've had an unusually supportive MP whose secretary has commented that, should my case be made public, it should be a wake up call to NHS Trusts complaints departments that their days of relying on complacent lying to complainants are over, when we are able to communicate, and gain evidence from the internet, to nail and bring those responsible to account.

I owe tremendous thanks to Janet Tracey's family for pursuing the legal issue of Do Not Resuscitation notices that recently upheld that a legal duty to inform patients with capacity whether a DNACPR order has been placed on their notes and whether they have any right to be consulted about it. http://www.leighday.co.uk/News/2014/June-2014/Landmark-judgment-in-resuscitation-case

This has given my case the right to include Article 8 of the Human Rights Act where we were deprived the right to respect for private and family life. Not as severe as Article 2 where the Trust failed to preserve, or protect the right to life.

I hope it's not too many years before my next update?



Kind regards, Will

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Hi starfarer,


I think you will have to find someone privately to do this. If I wanted one I would start with my GP but not necessarily go with one they suggested. But that would be a starting point and you can google on from your research about that expert. That's what I would do.



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