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Medical Negligence


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Dear Caggers,

 

Last year went for a simple operation on my salivary gland at St George's hospital, London which was meant to be a one night stay job. I ended up being in the hospital for nearly 3 weeks two weeks of which in an induced coma.

 

The reason being that whilst operating inside my mouth some damage was cause to the underside of my tongue which swelled up and necessitated my return to operating theatre for a second time to repair my tongue.

 

Then i needed to have a third operation to have a tracheostomy (neck) done to allow them to ventilate me through it. The experience was horrendous in terms of the psychological effect. I still suffer from this and feel it has marked me forever. I suffer from depression now. i was pumped full of all kinds of strong pain killers.

 

yet no one mentioned anything to me in hospital abut the psychological effects or what had happenned. its only when i saw the surgeon in outpatient some weeks later, he explained that it was possible that they had hurt my tongue with a tool that they normally use to cauterise small veins or stop bleeding with.

 

i have spent 3 months sick from work recovering from this and still have numbness in my tongue as well as being marked psychologically with depression.

 

many thanks for reading. Any advice would be much appreciated

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Perhaps a no win no fee medical negligence solicitor will be able to give you better advice and deal with this on your behalf?

 

https://www.google.ru/search?newwindow=1&biw=1301&bih=647&noj=1&sclient=psy-ab&q=medical+negligence+no+win+no+fee+uk&oq=medical+negligence+no+win+no+fee+uk

If I've given you advice, then it is just my thoughts / opinions - doesn't mean I am right!

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Hi

Sorry for your experiences with this.

My first suggestion is to get a copy of your hospital record and read through what happened. Doctors won't tell you everything in detail but there will be more info in the papers.

Then, as you were off work and I assume you lost income during this period, talk to a solicitor.

There are a few that specialise in medical negligence who will tell you if you have a legal case or not. When I spoke to my solicitor they said as long you lost money you have a case..

If not you have to make a complaint to the hospital, you have 1 year from the incident to do it.

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When I spoke to my solicitor they said as long you lost money you have a case..

If not you have to make a complaint to the hospital, you have 1 year from the incident to do it.

 

Neither strictly true :

A) You can complain to the hospital regardless of if you lost money.

 

B) "as long you lost money you have a case.." Is also untrue.

You can "have a case" without having lost a penny, and you can "loose thousands" without having a case.

Loosing money is a type of harm, as is personal injury.

 

However, to show negligence, harm is only part of the equation.

There must be a duty of care (and doctor to patient is a well recognised type of duty of care, so that is not an issue).

There must be breach of that duty of care, and harm must result directly from that breach (known as "Causation" of the harm).

 

There then must be no defence that the person accused of negligence can introduce.

 

In the case described the major hurdle is "Breach of duty".

It isn't sufficient to show that harm resulted : if the events were a recognised complication / risk of the surgery, the surgeon may be able to claim "no breach of duty of care".

 

Who took your consent for the procedure? Did they mention any risks of the surgery?

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Thank you for this very informative piece. With regards to risks I can't remember what they explained. However I would not imagine that causing damage to an organ i.e my tongue, which was not at all part of the operation would constitute acceptable risk. The operation was meant to be on the side of my mouth internally to get to my salivary gland. I would value your opinion on this

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Thank you for this very informative piece. With regards to risks I can't remember what they explained. However I would not imagine that causing damage to an organ i.e my tongue, which was not at all part of the operation would constitute acceptable risk. The operation was meant to be on the side of my mouth internally to get to my salivary gland. I would value your opinion on this

 

I've not been involved in such a case to know the answer and as I'm not an ENT or oral (dental & medical trained) surgeon either (and I suspect only those groups will know for sure if it is a recognised complication) ; so I don't know.

 

However, to get to the salivary gland 'internally', clearly they are going into your mouth cavity.

The tongue is comprised of muscle and this would likely have been relaxed (even if not actually paralysed as some anaesthetics involve this), so it may have become "in the way" : again I suspect you need an expert opinion (which I'm not!) as to if this was "avoidable / breach of duty of care" or just "bloody bad luck / recognised complication / no breach of duty" : as this will be (one?) key factor on if any claim would succeed or not.

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So, you reckon I ought to consult another doctor for a second opinion ?

 

First thing to do is to ask your doctor what went wrong, and how it happened. If you have any doubts as to the accuracy of their statement, then seek advice from a personal injury specialist solicitor ; they'll have access to experts who will be able to advise on if you have the basis for a claim.

 

A "second opinion" is more for when you aren't convinced as to a diagnosis being correct, or tyhe treatment options offered being correct.

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