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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!
"Rachelle is highly experienced and provided an excellent and professional service, proactively working with us, within a very difficult timeframe, to collate all the necessary professional information and putting together the evidence required to support the claim." - Carolyn Rigg, client
"Excellent service - Rachelle Mahapatra was so professional, kind and caring. Always there for us the last 3 years, they never lost sight of my daughter's case and did everything they could to get the best claim for the rest of her life. I would definitely recommend Irwin Mitchell to anybody." - Beverly Schofield, client
Rachelle is "incredibly hard-working and nationally respected" by market commentators. Clients enthuse that "she was always realistic and down-to-earth, and able to put things across in a manner that we could understand as the claim went through." - Chambers & Partners 2018
"Easy to talk to and a good communicator; forthright, knows the area well and is good with clients." - Chambers & Partners 2017
"A national leader in her field" - Legal 500, 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
“We would like to thank everyone involved with tonight’s performance, particularly the writer of the play, Annie Eves and cast, who captured a very accurate interpretation of brain injury and the effect on an individual and their family.
“It truly was a stunning performance and moving play which also included humour. It delivers a strong message about the struggles of someone who suffers from encephalitis and the impact of a failure to diagnose and treat at an early stage. One of the purposes of this play to help raise awareness of the condition, and I believe the performance did that.
“At Irwin Mitchell, we see first-hand the terrible impact the condition can have on people’s lives and not just the impact on those diagnosed with encephalitis, but also their family and friends.
“That is why we work closely with The Encephalitis Society to raise awareness of encephalitis to the general public. I would like to thank the Society for their help in producing the play.”
“Jonathan is understandably devastated by what has happened as a result of sepsis.
“We are investigating Jonathan’s claims and hope that by raising awareness of sepsis we can help to prevent further suffering from this awful disease.”
“I was lucky enough to meet Izzy when I presented her with an award at the Sue Ryder Yorkshire Women of Achievement awards.
“Despite the many obstacles Izzy has had to overcome since birth, her focus is always so positive and I want to help make her dreams possible.
“Through the work we do at Irwin Mitchell, we work closely with children and young people who suffer on a daily basis living with cerebral palsy. We focus on their rehabilitation and doing what we can to allow them to live life to the full and Izzy is a shining example of what is possible.”
“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.”
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