Medical negligence lawyers help rebuild lives
Following publication of the NHS Litigation Authority's annual report and accounts last month, partner Mark Bowman commented in the Times on the importance of medical negligence cases in taking responsibility when someone's life is devastated.
Rather than pursuing a witch hunt against doctors and medical staff, Mark stressed the importance of litigation in helping to put someone's life back as far as possible to how it was before a catastrophic event – described by Prof Martin Elliott, Great Ormond St's Co-Medical Director, as 'never events' – events that should never happen.
When, tragically, they do happen, medical mistakes can clearly have devastating consequences on a person's life and on the lives of their loved ones. Family and professional life often comes to a halt and things will likely never be the same again. The future can look very bleak.
I work alongside medical negligence lawyers who strive for justice and compensation for their clients and families affected by severe disabilities as a result of negligence.
I've seen first-hand how the families of those affected by catastrophic brain injuries as a result of medical negligence have their lives turned upside down. One case in particular really struck a chord. A little boy was born with severe cerebral palsy after medical staff failed to notice his slowing heartbeat during his mother's labour. He had to be resuscitated at birth and his brain was deprived of oxygen.
At the time, his mother was only 20. She left hospital two weeks later to go home and try to cope with a severely disabled child on her own with minimal help from the authorities. What she achieved in those early years was nothing short of remarkable. She herself admits that, at times, she doubted if she could cope.
Edwina Rawson, Partner specialising in medical negligence, presented this mother's case for settlement in the High Court. Litigation is never easy for a family. It means having to incorporate numerous additional hospital appointments with expert witnesses into an already stressful life and face hospital admissions that can be unexpected and worrying.
The Judge praised the unconditional care and love the child's mother had provided her child. The Judge said the commitment from parents in such cases never ceased to amaze him.
The Judge's words, obviously, can't heal the hurt or the damage done, but this simple acknowledgement in the High Court plays an important part in allowing his mother to move forward after an incredibly painful seven years.
The compensation awarded to the family will have huge impact on their lives. It will help provide the best quality of life for the child and bring some welcome relief to his mother, whose life was shattered through no fault of her own. In this case, it will allow for professional carers to help look after the boy in his home. It will buy vital equipment such as eye gaze technology and other therapies to develop learning skills which allow him to achieve his maximum potential. Their home will be adapted to allow him to be as independent as he can and will provide other therapies such as hydrotherapy. For severely disabled children, unable to kick a ball around or participate in sporting activities, hydrotherapy is life enhancing. It helps this boy to move with a therapist in warm water and allows the family to play together in a safe environment. You only have to see the delight on the child's face to understand what a huge impact having the right equipment and therapies will have for him.
In this case, a fantastic outcome for lives devastated by medical negligence and showing the vital importance of finding a medical negligence lawyer who cares passionately about getting justice for their client and rebuilding lives.
By Gabriella Gooday, Paralegal
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