21 December 2010
Hospital Errors Don't Usually End So Harmlessly
I was reading this article and whilst it is a mistake that is so absurd that it is laughable, it does illustrate the procedural inaccuracies that can arise in Hospital Trusts all over the country. Luckily in this instance, no harm was done and the patient in this case walked away unharmed (albeit the butt of a few jokes from his friends).
However, not everyone is so lucky. This story reminds me of a case I settled a few months ago, where unfortunately, a similar mistake was made to my client but with far greater consequences. My client attended a routine endoscope examination in Hospital and was discharged. Shortly afterwards, he received a letter from Doncaster Royal Infirmary saying he had bowel cancer. He also received an information pack and a DVD with advice on how to cope with being diagnosed with cancer and the best way to tell friends and family. My client's life completed changed from that moment on. He firmly believed he was going to die and even changed his pension details into his father's name and ensured his personal affairs were in order. He even resigned from his job to enjoy the last few months of his life.
The day before radiotherapy was due to commence, my client was informed there was a mix up with his records and it was a case of mistaken identity. He suffered with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result and had many sleepless nights. He eventually received a letter of apology from the Trust. However, in this instance, it was unfortunately too late and the damage was already done.
Therefore, not all mistakes can be easily rectified and the Trust need to ensure that procedures are in place to stop mistakes like these happening again.Amy Bond is a solicitor specialising in clinical negligence. If you or a member of your family have a clinical negligence enquiry please call our expert clinical negligence solicitors on 0800 916 9049, or email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our specialist clinical negligence team will be in touch.