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I joined Irwin Mitchell in 2002 and have been the head of clinical negligence at the Leeds office since 2005 acting for patients in claims against doctors and hospitals. I am particularly interested in mistakes made surrounding the delivery of unborn babies causing injury sometimes serious to the baby or their mother, complications of abdominal surgery and late diagnosis of cancer. The department in Leeds covers all aspects of clinical negligence.
Some of the cases I've been involved with include:
Brian Hogan, the then head of the legal faculty at Leeds University, was a family friend and told interesting stories about criminal law. I originally intended to be a criminal solicitor but was lucky enough to work with a specialist clinical negligence solicitor during my training and the rest is history.
Enabling people to get as much out of their lives after devastating injuries whether by equipment, care or computers so that they can have control of their own lives.
The people are really passionate about what we do and working with people who want to do the best for their clients.
Riding my horse Brookie who lives next to the very beautiful Harewood estate. It is a great way to wind down. I was a Trustee of the Dogs Trust, the largest canine welfare charity from 1999-2014 and remain committed to all aspects of animal welfare, including Compassion in World Farming. I rode a horse 200 kilometres across Transylvania in Romania to raise funds for a welfare and training programme in Romania run by World Horse Welfare. I’m a keen supporter of the arts and have just taken up yoga!
"Easy to talk to and a good communicator; forthright, knows the area well and is good with clients." - Chambers & Partners 2017
Rachelle Mahapatra is seen as "a force of nature - an extremely forceful, driven and committed clinical negligence lawyer." - Chambers & Partners 2015
Rachelle “receives effusive recommendations from all quarters, with sources emphasising her compassion and commitment to her clients. Cross her at your peril. She is not someone you go into battle against unless you really know your ground. She is very efficient and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.” - Chambers & Partners 2014
"Really goes the extra mile for clients" and praised for her "wealth of experience." - Chambers & Partners 2013
Noted as "very approachable and professional." - Legal 500 2013
“This is a truly tragic case that has left a young mum with devastating, permanent brain damage. Millie and Lucy spend a lot of time together, seeing each other every day, but she is unable to care for her daughter as she would have done.
“This has also had a huge effect on the rest of her family, her husband Adam and her parents and sister. The intention is for Lucy’s house to be adapted so that she can come home full time.
“Lucy’s parents are also absolutely devastated by what happened to their daughter and were relieved that the Hospital finally accepted that they were responsible. It cannot change anything, but at least they now have the reassurance that Lucy will receive the correct level of care and support for the rest of her life.
“We are glad to have secured Lucy a substantial settlement from the Trust that will provide for her immediate and future needs, including providing her with access to specialist care and rehabilitation services to help with any possible recovery and provide the best quality of life possible.
“Through our work we continue to see mothers and babies suffering unnecessary injuries as a result of a lack of resource or insufficient experience and training. Lessons must be learnt from any failings identified in individual cases and shared throughout the NHS to ensure patient safety is improved and the same mistakes are not repeated.”
“I’m thrilled to be recognised by the Yorkshire Legal Awards. Even though it has my name on it, I wouldn’t have achieved so much of what I have without the brilliant team at Irwin Mitchell supporting me.
“I think I speak on behalf of us all when I say part of the reason for our success come down to the fact we are all so passionate about what we do. It’s not just passion for law and justice but it’s the amazing clients and people we work with and for, it’s an honour.”
“We are delighted to be able to deliver this service to the community in York and to raise awareness of the health issues people can face, as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle.
“It can sometimes be difficult to come to terms with health problems and approach medical professionals for advice on general health and lifestyle. However this informal event will provide people with the opportunity to come along and learn more about what help and advice is available to them.”
“Inadequate time spent with a patient could lead to missed symptoms, misdiagnosis and in some cases long term preventable damage or even loss of life.
“If GPs have insufficient time with their patients to make a diagnosis then the treatment or referral may be incorrect and lead to a delay in diagnosis.
“We see the effects of late diagnosis in our work with clients and the impact on them and their family’s lives.
“Advising patients to plan ahead is fine but some cases can be complicated and you need time to understand the problem before a solution can be sort.
“We know that there is pressure on the NHS financially but mistakes can be life changing and if more funding is needed to increase the consultation time to 15 minutes then this must happen.
“The NHS must look at ways to tackle this as a priority.”
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