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I am an associate in the Medical Negligence team based in the Manchester office. I joined Irwin Mitchell in September 2008 as a trainee solicitor and on qualification felt that specialising solely in clinical negligence would combine elements of two professions, medical and legal, that I felt would make the best use of my skills.
I deal with a variety of claims, ranging from cancer delay and orthopaedic cases to stillbirth and brain injury.
As many of the cases I have dealt with understandably have some sort of psychiatric element to them, I have considerable experience of psychiatric claims.
As a young student I was generally interested in "the law" and what that encompassed because it just seemed so vast. When you start to learn about it in detail you realise that the legal profession isn't just about "the law", it's about individual solicitors that evolve a specialist skill in one or two particular areas.
Without a doubt it has to be helping my clients get some sort of closure to what has happened to them. Whether that's obtaining compensation to help them get better from the injuries they've suffered or finally getting some answers about the treatment they received, it is all of huge importance to clients and I feel like we take a journey together to get those answers. Compensation is only ever part of the story for our clients.
The fact that you won't find anyone here who isn't truly passionate about what they do and about their clients.
“Encephalitis can be caused by an infection of the brain, or by the immune system attacking the brain in error, and this can kill or leave people severely disabled. If treated promptly, however, these problems can be avoided or significantly reduced, as we’ve seen with clients we have represented in the past.”
“Stuart’s sudden and tragic death has obviously had a significant impact on his family and they are struggling to come to terms with the series of events that caused his death, which stem from him undergoing routine surgery for a broken leg.
“While the Trust has now advised Stuart’s family of the investigation that was carried out, that failings in care were identified and invited the family to a meeting to discuss the report, Anita is understandably extremely upset that the Trust failed to comply with the Duty of Candour regulations and inform them an investigation was taking place into Stuart’s death.
“The Duty of Candour requires Trusts to be open and honest when something goes wrong with treatment that causes harm or distress to someone in their care. Simply put, it means that families should be told when something goes wrong, there should be an apology and an explanation should be provided. None of those things happened in this case, in fact, quite the opposite. The Trust recognised the severity of what had happened to Stuart very quickly but rather than be open and honest with the family about their concerns, they carried out an investigation without the family’s knowledge, even when that investigation went on to find failings with the care provided. This type of conduct is in direct contrast to what the Duty of Candour seeks to promote.
“By depriving the family of being part of the investigation they were prevented from providing their own comments and engaging with the process to ensure lessons were learned.
“Anita hopes the Inquest into her father’s death, the findings of the Coroner and the Trust’s own investigation will lead to improvements in the treatment of patients to prevent other families going through the tragic loss she and her family have endured. She also hopes that they learn from their mistakes in terms of the way that they conducted their investigations so that families are not left in the dark in future.”
“In a legal sense, neglect means that the care was so poor that Stuart did not receive basic medical attention. The fact that the Coroner felt strongly enough in this case to find that the Trust’s acts and omissions amounted to neglect is a clear indication of the severity of the failings in Stuart’s care.”
This is a tragic case that saw a previously healthy man die as a result of a catalogue of terrible failings by health professionals who were meant to be caring for him.
“Because Peter was in so much pain from the fractured ribs, he could not breathe properly which meant his lungs became inflamed and infected which eventually caused him to develop blood poisoning.
“His wife and children who stayed with him throughout his hospital stay had to watch him suffer in agony, cry with pain and they remain devastated at losing him so suddenly and unexpectedly after what they thought was nothing more than a fall.
“We welcome the admission of liability from the Trust as at least the family now have some accountability. However, it is vital that the Trust takes steps to reassure the public that it is investing resource in improving standards of care so patient safety is protected and no one else is subjected to the same unacceptable failings.
“We hope that the CQC will continue to monitor standards within the Trust and if improvements are not made, enforcement action will be taken to protect the safety of those relying on its health services.”
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