Ipswich: Hospital aftercare problems?
17:53 12 June 2014
Legally Speaking with Ashton KCJ
Julie Crossley, a medical injury specialist at Ashton KCJ, looks at some of the issues that arise.
Being admitted to hospital for an operation can be worrying. Once you have had your surgery, however, you will probably feel relieved and reasonably confident that you will now recover. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many of the clinical negligence claims we see relate to the aftercare that patients have received rather than their initial treatment.
The NHS has been working hard to reduce the number of surgical patients who go on to suffer ‘healthcare associated infections’ but these have not yet been eradicated. If infections are not treated promptly and correctly the consequences can be dire. We recently acted for a man who contracted a post-operative infection after knee replacement surgery. As a result of a sequence of errors in the treatment, he ended up having to have most of his leg amputated; clearly an entirely different result from the one he had expected, and life-changing for him.
Deep Vein Thrombosis can be another problem, particularly due to patients’ lack of mobility after an operation. In one recent instance, a lady who underwent a hip operation was believed to be recovering well but sadly died a few days later from a pulmonary embolism. We, and her family, believed that the hospital had failed to make her wear the TED stockings which could potentially have saved her life.
Sometimes it is the care after discharge from hospital which is poor. For example, while many care homes are excellent, others don’t always seem to take appropriate steps to look after people who are with them for post-hospital rehabilitation.
Allowing people to leave hospital too soon can also be a problem. The most frequent examples of this are found in mental health care. We have represented families where, tragically, an individual who is receiving mental health treatment has been allowed out of a psychiatric unit when they were not able to cope and they have gone on to take their own life.
The cost to the NHS of addressing failures in aftercare is huge. In most cases, the people who seek our help share our view that these sorts of mistakes are unacceptable and avoidable, and systems need to be improved to ensure they are not repeated. A win-win solution for all.
Ashton KCJ Solicitors
T: 01473 849950
This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We would advise you to seek professional advice before acting on this information.