Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence Newsletter – February 2016

We are pleased to present the February 2016 edition of our Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence Newsletter from the Clarke Willmott claims team.

Our aim is to provide you with a brief overview of key developments and issues in the field of serious injury and clinical negligence.

Over 4 million people in the UK are living with Diabetes

New figures released yesterday by Diabetes UK indicate that for the first time the number of people in the UK who are living with diabetes is now over 4 million. This represents an increase of 65 % over the past decade.

It is thought that there are a further 549,000 living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

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Payment of care allowances to carers of Court of Protection patients

Court of Protection (CoP) patients often have carers who are family members; this is especially common, for example, when the incapacitated person is a child where a parent will often be part of the child’s care team or act as case manager co-ordinating their child’s care. These family carers often receive payments from the patient’s funds for their services, referred to as “gratuitous care allowances”. These allowances are currently under review by the Public Guardian the results of which will potentially affect the thousands of families currently in receipt of them.

In the light of the review the senior judge of the CoP recently authorised the publication of a judgment (Re HNL) on this subject, assessing it to be in the public interest to do so. A crucial point, clearly highlighted in the judgment, is that gratuitous care allowances can only be paid by a lay Deputy with the authority of the CoP.

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Tragedy, mystery, curiosity?

The much over used word “tragedy” is genuinely applicable to the sad case of Frances Cappuccini, the 30 year old mother of two who died when she failed to recover from anaesthesia following a caesarean section carried out at Tunbridge Wells Hospital in 2012.

The death of a young mother is always tragic, the fact that her death was eminently avoidable makes it doubly so. Mrs Cappuccini suffered from heavy blood loss during a caesarean section, giving birth to her second child. It was noted that she was having difficulty in breathing during the recovery period but the anaesthetist, Dr Nadeem Azeez proceeded to remove a breathing tube and failed to re-insert it when there was no improvement in her condition. He then failed to summon assistance for some time and when he did, Dr Errol Cornish who came to his aid, is said to have taken insufficient steps to rectify the situation, contributing to the patient’s death.

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Capacity and Crime – Developments in the legal test for mental capacity in the criminal justice system

It is now over a decade since the Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) was introduced. At its heart was a new test for determining whether any individual was capable of taking decisions regarding aspects of their own life.

The MCA has not been without its critics particularly in relation to the assessment process itself. It is, however, currently applicable in England and Wales in respect of assessing an individuals mental capability save in respect of one very important area.

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Diabetes – MPs call for better prevention and treatment

The Public Accounts Committee has just published its report into the Management of adult diabetes services in the NHS.

Cases of diabetes continue to rise with an estimated 200,000 new diagnoses each year. In their report, the Committee expressed concern about the continuing rise in the cost of treating patients with diabetes and there is a call by Parliament for control of costs by better prevention and treatment.

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