Have You Been Medically Neglected?

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While most medical procedures and conversations pass without incident, there are some cases where things don’t go to plan. While getting your regular prescription from the GP or having routine surgery tend to be fine, mistakes can happen. This can mean that the healthcare professional who was looking after you was medically negligent.

But what is medical negligence? And what do you do if you think you’ve been medically neglected?

What is medical negligence?

Medical negligence is when a professional has failed in their duty of care to you. This professional could be a surgeon or a GP, a nurse or a dentist.

You might have received the wrong care or that the treatment you had wasn’t up to the right standards. It could also be that there was accidental lapse in judgement on the part of your healthcare team. Whatever happened to make their care for you go wrong, if it’s caused you to be injured or it’s made your existing injury or illness worse, you could have been medically neglected.

What are the common reasons for medical negligence to occur?

There are several reasons why you could have been injured as a result of medical negligence. First, it could be an incorrect diagnosis or a missed diagnosis that’s had serious consequences for you and led to you not receiving the proper care.

There’s also the issue of incorrect treatments. This might be the wrong prescription was given, an incorrect dose prescribed, or that no treatment was prescribed or suggested.

Surgical errors are also classed as medical negligence. These can be anything from the wrong procedure being carried out to post-surgical care being inadequate and leading to complications later on.

Birth injuries also fall into the medical negligence category. If the mother and/ or the baby was hurt during the birth, there can be heartbreaking consequences.

How can medical negligence affect me?

Physical injuries as a result of medical negligence can be life-changing and, in some cases, result in death. As well as these catastrophic events, there are other ways you could be impacted.

If your injury means that you can’t work, you could find you have money worries, and these can affect your mental wellbeing. This is especially the case if you need to find the funds to pay for healthcare and treatments too.

There’s also the emotional and mental effect of the injury itself. You might be traumatised, and this can, in turn, impact on your relationships with those closest to you.

What should I do if I’ve suffered from medical negligence?

If you or someone you love has been injured in a medical setting, it might be worth seeking advice from a professional. If your trust in the medial profession has been damaged, there are online resources that can help, such as the Mind and Citizen’s Advice websites.

It might be work seeking compensation, too. This could help to cover the cost of the bills and any treatment that’s needed. The amount you could receive depends on what happened, but medical negligence solicitors are trained in working through each case. They’ll be able to help you take your claim forward. There were over 15,600 compensation claims made against the health service in 2019/19, so you wouldn’t be alone if you did decide to go ahead.

Whatever happens, it’s important that you know that it’s possible to get the support you need during this tough time.

Medical Neglect in Children

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Medical neglect is defined as a parent’s failure to provide their kid with adequate medical or dental treatment, especially when such care is required to address a severe physical injury or disease. In certain instances, this may also entail withholding mental care from a child who needs it. In certain countries, guardians or other caregivers who have a legal duty to look after the kid may also be held accountable for medical negligence.

Medical neglect is frequently seen as a type of child neglect and is frequently reported by a state’s child abuse laws.

The causes of neglect and abuse are a complex medley of societal, familial, and individual variables. Parents may be more prone to neglect or abuse a kid if they are single parents, poor, addicted to drugs or alcohol, struggling with mental health issues (such as personality disorders or low self-esteem), or if any of these conditions apply in combination. The likelihood of parents abusing their children increases if they experienced physical or sexual abuse as children. Children who live in poverty are identified with neglect 12 times more commonly than children who do not.

Parents who are young, inexperienced, or who have multiple children under the age of five are also more likely to abuse their kids. Pregnant women who smoke, use drugs, or have a history of domestic abuse run the risk of harming their unborn children.

On occasion, parents and children fail to develop strong emotional relationships. Premature or ill infants who are kept apart from their parents throughout infancy are more likely to experience this lack of attachment. Lack of connection can also develop in children who are not biologically linked to their parents (such as stepchildren), which increases the likelihood of maltreatment.

What Kinds of Behavior Are Considered Medical Neglect?

A child’s medical needs may be neglected by a parent through a variety of behaviors and actions. Some of them might be:

  • denying or rejecting the child’s request for emergency medical attention
  • refusing without sufficient reason to cover the child’s medical costs for a serious sickness
  • ignoring a doctor’s medical advice on an illness that may be treated
  • failing to administer medication to the youngster by a doctor’s instructions

If the child’s health suffers significant harm or if they require recurrent or protracted hospitalizations, this type of conduct may be easier to prove. Additionally, it must be proven that the recommended course of action will significantly facilitate the child’s access to healthcare and that the caregiver is mentally competent and aware of the situation.

States vary when it comes to allowing religious exemptions from medical negligence laws. Many states let parents refuse to give their kids medicine and preventative treatment. Usually, the exemption must be justified by the parents’ sincere religious beliefs and their participation in a recognized religion or spiritual practice. The Christian Science group, for instance, is renowned for its belief in faith healing. However, some jurisdictions (like Colorado) forbid parents from withholding medical care from their kids because of their religious beliefs.

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What Can a Doctor Do When Medical Negligence Occurs?

To design a medical process that everyone can understand, doctors can work with the family, engage the extended family, and utilize community resources. If necessary, the doctor may also recommend additional medical diagnostic testing and therapy with other providers. Ultimately, if no other option is available, they may refer the matter to child services.

Will Child Services Speak Up in Medical Neglect Claims?

In severe situations of medical neglect, child welfare organizations may step in to intervene. The child services organization may get a court order directing the parent to temporarily transfer custody of the kid to the organization to provide funding for the child’s required medical treatment.

Intervention is a serious action that is often only used in the most serious instances of medical negligence, such as when:

  • For an emergency, prompt medical attention is required
  • The kid lacks access to necessary medical care for a chronic condition that poses a life-threatening risk (such as when a diabetic youngster cannot get their medication)
  • The kid has a persistent illness that, if left untreated, might lead to deformity or handicap (for example, if the youngster requires surgery to prevent blindness)

The best interests of the kid, the parent, and the state will all be taken into consideration by the court while determining whether or not to allow intervention.

Is Medical Neglect of a Child’s Legal Repercussions Possible?

Medical neglect has the potential to result in a state-ordered intervention as well as serious legal repercussions for the parent or caregiver. For instance, the parent may be charged with felony child abuse, which would include jail time and other legal repercussions.

In extreme cases, the parent may permanently lose their right to custody and visitation. If the job requires the parent to oversee or care for children or newborns, it could be difficult for them to get employment.

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Do I Need Legal Counsel if I Have Medical Negligence Legal Issues?

Medical negligence is a serious issue, and the courts do not take it lightly. Imagine you have any legal queries, worries, or disagreements relating to a child’s medical negligence. You ought to contact a family lawyer right away in that situation.

If you are required to appear in court, your attorney can assist you in doing so. Additionally, if you need to record any instances of medical negligence that you are aware of, you might want to consult a local family lawyer. This can lessen any harm or challenges brought on by a medical issue for the youngster.

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