Negligence or doing their job?

November 15, 2013 Off By Laura TMOT
Earlier this year I wrote about the Saatchi bill and how I was trying to help the bill through the House of Commons so that there could be some changes made to the law around medical negligence.

The bill was all about allowing doctors the opportunity to innovate, to use new technology or new drugs to try to save someone’s life. The bill mostly spoke of cancer cases but also mention MS and other life debilitating diseases. It was about allowing Doctors the legal support of trying new things without the threat of being sued for negligence. They would obviously have had to follow a set procedure and there were rules and guidelines in place within the bill to protect patients but it was all about moving forward in medicine.

The NHS pays out a ridiculous about of money for negligence cases as this article on the Evening Standard informs us. Over £172 million pounds in one year! It seems to me that some of these negligence cases may be due to lack of staffing denying the doctors, nurses and consultants the ability to spend more time with patients notes, with the patient themselves or just having a break to refresh themselves.

Having spent many nights in the hospital with Elizabeth I have seen and heard of many times when the nurses and doctors were overworked. The lack of staff at a weekend was laughable some weekends and the kids didn’t stop getting sick just because there were no doctors. So many times were the nurses so busy caring for patients, issuing medication or answering the phone that many times they didn’t stop to go for a short break let alone lunch.

Not having adequate breaks or the time to observe patients properly can lead to misdiagnosis or undetected problems. We had this issue ourselves when Elizabeth developed a surgical emphysema after having her hickman line put in. It took three days before someone took her oxygen stats serious enough to ask for an x-ray. 

A survey by First4Lawyers says that 49.8% of people asked think that the complaints received about doctors/nurses’ poor bedside manner are due to the staff being overworked. Yet even though we know that they are just trying to do their job under the stressful overworked circumstances 45.2% of people would still consider suing if they felt that they had received inadequate treatment. 

In a country where our health care service is free I think we need to start thinking about all that these doctors do for us, we need to start allowing them to do their best and if we all stopped suing them they might have more money to hire some more Doctors and nurses to help fill the gaps and support patients better. It seems like a never ending cycle of catastrophe, the more we sue the less money the NHS has to spend on staff, the less staff the more we sue. 

I remember growing up in a country that used to laugh at the Americans having a litigation culture. Surely we are now just as bad?

Maybe we need to start paying for our medical treatment to really appreciate the cost and effort that these professionals put in?

I for one am grateful for the NHS and all that it has done for our family, through giving birth in clean hospitals to caring for Elizabeth throughout her treatment and all of the other illnesses and injuries we have had over the years.  

Picture

The day we came home

This post was written in association with First4Lawyers but the thoughts experiences and rant was all my own.