Compensation claims arising from paramedic or Accident & Emergency (A & E) hospital care can unfortunately occur.
Delayed treatment claims
Despite NHS initiatives to try and improve emergency care in hospitals, patients are still experiencing significant delays before they are seen by doctors despite being critically unwell. Emergency departments now experience higher patient numbers than ever before with levels of funding not increasing to match demand.
Ambulance and Paramedics delays
The other element of emergency care which can lead to claims involves the Paramedic and ambulance services. Generally both are highly trained to respond to urgent calls and the system works well and efficiently. However, we do see claims arising from delays in despatching ambulances and claims where a team has been sent out but has inadequate equipment on their vehicle to deal with the medical emergency eg lack of oxygen, adult equipment only and a lack of equipment for a child or young baby. Sadly, delays in acute medicine can be fatal, as time is so often of the essence.
Wrong diagnosis, misdiagnosis and medical mistakes
A & E care requires speed and efficiency but also a broad knowledge of different areas of medical practice and an ability to identify those patients who need referral on to other departments.
Common medical errors occurring in A & E departments include:
- Failure to diagnose fractures – either by treating as a soft tissue injury or misinterpreting an x-ray.
- Failure to identify correctly the nature of tendon injuries where there has been a laceration.
- Failure to diagnose infection.
- Failure to diagnose testicular torsion.
- Failure to refer on to a specialist stroke team for acute stroke treatment where time is of the essence in a suspected case which has presented early.
- Failure to properly assess head and spinal injuries resulting in permanent and serious Neurological injury eg failing to take an adequate history or pick up on important red flag symptoms.
- Failure to identify brain haemorrhage in a patient who presents with intractable headache.
- Delayed treatment in an acute setting of a patient with chest pain.
- Failure to diagnose and treat Pulmonary embolism and Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Failing to ensure that a patient attends follow up care and is passed on to the correct department for this or not giving appropriate safety netting advice in a case where follow up assessment might be needed.
In addition to the above, care in A & E can be problematic where the general Consultant on duty may be asked to see a child who really needs specialist input from a Paediatrician. Equally acute trauma care may not identify Orthopaedic injury correctly leading to a failure to refer on to the correct team.
Paramedic care can also be criticised if a serious underlying condition has been missed and a patient has been given false reassurance in relation to their condition and therefore cannot make an informed decision about whether they need to attend hospital.
Contact a medical negligence solicitor
If you’ve experienced delayed or negligent treatment in an A & E department and want to pursue a medical negligence compensation claim call us now on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.