Archive for March, 2016

Claims for Compensation against Nurse Practitioners See Significant Increase

Posted on: March 10th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

Claims for compensation against nurse practitioners have seen a significant increase over the past decade according to the Medical Defence Union.

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) is an organization that provides clinical indemnity and legal support for members of the medical profession. According to a recent report, just two claims for compensation against nurse practitioners were made against its members in 2005. Ten years later, and the MDU reports that number has risen to twenty-five.

The figures released by the MDU mirror those revealed by the Medical Protection Society in 2012. Both reports attribute the increase in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners to more emphasis being given to primary nursing care, the role of nurse practitioners being expanded and a greater awareness of patients´ rights.

An analysis of the figures released by the MDU and Medical Protection Society both show that the majority of claims for compensation against nurse practitioners are for missed diagnoses and the failure to properly manage chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma.

While acknowledging that nurse practitioners are seeing patients who would historically have been seen by a GP, both organisations identified three specific areas that had contributed significantly to the rise in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners:

  • A failure to adequately assess a patient´s condition
  • A failure or a delay to refer a patient to a specialist or GP
  • A failure to adequately monitor the progress of a disease or illness

Dr Beverley Ward – the medico-legal advisor at the MDU – expanded on the reasons for there being an increase in claims for compensation against nurse practitioners. Dr Ward said:

“Many practices have devolved more responsibility to nurse practitioners in their team to cope with the increasing demand. However, in taking on roles such as assessing and diagnosing patients, prescribing medicines, and running minor injury clinics, nurse practitioners are also at an increased risk of patients holding them individually accountable if something goes wrong.”

NHS Disputes Value of Medical Negligence Claim for Burst Appendix

Posted on: March 7th, 2016 by Medical Negligence

The National Health Service (NHS) is disputing the value of a claim made by a woman who was left infertile by a burst appendix that was not removed in a timely fashion.

The trouble began in 2008, when Sarah Marquis began experiencing severe pains in her abdomen. She visited her GP, and was then admitted to Homerton Hospital in East London, where she was put on painkillers for three days. The doctors failed to notice that her appendix needed to be removed, and eventually the procedure was undertaken. Medical staff commented that the appendix was “gangrenous and perforated”, and lead to a serious abdominal infection that caused Ms Marquis to be infertile.

Three-and-a-half years after the operation, Ms Marquis had not returned to her £65,000 per annum job at DLA Piper, a leading London law firm. After seeking legal counsel, Ms Marquis made a claim against the Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust for their failure to remove her appendix. The Trust conceded liability for her injuries, though they contested her claim for £1.5 million in compensation, instead arguing that the true value of the claim was closer to £300,000.

The case proceeded to London’s High Court, where Judge Robert Owen QC heard evidence that Ms Marquis’ life was drastically altered by the delayed procedure an infection, including losing the opportunity to live and work in the United Staes of America, where she could have expected to earn more. Additionally, she will never be able to conceive her own biological child with her partner.

Bradley Martin, barrister for the NHS Trust, read an apology to Ms Marquis at the hearing that acknowledged that Homerton Hospital had been responsible for her injuries. However, he proceeded to question whether Ms Marquis would have both had children and worked in the USA, arguing that her desire for one would have overridden the other and she would not have done both.

The hearing is due to continue later this month.