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Medical Negligence Wider Impact

Never Underestimate The Wider Impact Of Medical Negligence23rd Mar 2022

by David Simpson on 23rd Mar 2022

Contact David Simpson

Medical negligence has a wide-ranging impact on its victims – far greater than most people realise. Sometimes even the victims themselves don’t know the pain and suffering they’ll face months and years after their injuries.

The physical damage caused by a botched medical procedure can be bad enough: agonising pain, impairment and disability. But that can be just the start. There are other consequences too…

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Loss Of Self-Identity

Research by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has shown that some patients lose some of their sense of self-identity. Their disability becomes part of their identity because they have to depend so much on others.

Clinical negligence injuries can be particularly hard on patients with young children because they can no longer care for them as they did before – they need help. And without family support, that costs money.

Find out more about claiming compensation for GP and hospital errors including:

Isolation, Loneliness, Worsening Mental Health

Imagine being very healthy, physically active and sporty – then suddenly a late/wrong diagnosis or surgical error robs you of all that. No more sporting success, no more adrenaline surges from all that healthy activity. All gone in an instant.

Now imagine the impact that would have on your life, on how you would feel. Little wonder that victims who previously led very active lives suddenly become very isolated and lonely. Some see their personalities go from bubbly extrovert to insular introvert.

Tragically, this sadness can all too easily lead to depression and other mental health issues. The old adage of ‘healthy body, healthy mind’ rings true. And it’s a sad and bitter truth when, as a medical negligence solicitor, you see how a client’s injuries have affected their mental health and well-being.

APIL’s/Opinium Research’s 29-page Value Of Compensation report tells how some victims with long-term conditions become very insular. They don’t want to leave the house or speak with anyone.

Impact On Victims’ Loved Ones

The consequences of clinical negligence affect not just the victim but also their wider family. That impact is most acute when the patient dies and their bereaved relatives are left to cope as best they can under these tragic circumstances.

In the APIL/Opinium Research interviews, all those who had lost a child due to medical negligence struggled with depression. Those who had lost adult loved ones spoke of a sense of hopelessness. Many felt guilty that they hadn’t been able to prevent the death.

One father said in the report: “When you've lost a child, it devastates your life…I became isolated. I was suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder, I was suicidal. Three days after Robbie's death, the post-mortem confirmed it was Addison’s disease. Could you imagine how I felt after losing Robbie the way that we did?

“Finding out that the disease that he had was treatable? You can only imagine what that would do to any parent. It ruined my family life, it ruined my relationship with my other two sons because I was angry all the time…that grief is [exacerbated] by people who tell lies and cover up…”

One woman interviewed lost her 26-year-old sister-in-law because of failure to diagnose tuberculosis in time: “Our lifestyle has completely changed. It's taken our well-being away from us. Some weekends we can spend the entire weekend indoors just sitting in front of the television like vegetables because we just don't want to interact with the world. We just feel so hurt and it's really, really difficult.”

Breakdown Of Relationships

A number of the people interviewed for the APIL study said they had separated from their partner due to the long-term consequences of their injuries.

One negligence victim said they had become – in the words of the report – ‘disconnected’ from their husband because they didn’t want their lifelong impairment to become a burden to him.

How Compensation Can Help

Given everything you’ve just read, it’s hard to imagine how a compensation payment could possibly help. How can mere money atone for the loss of a loved one or for one’s own life-changing injuries?

The answer is that it can, and it does. Not only does it help you to cope with the very real financial consequences of medical negligence (loss of income, cost of treatment, care and rehabilitation) – but it also plays a key role in helping you to regain some independence and freedom.

Compensation can help you to purchase mobility aids or the necessary adaptions to your home – improving your quality of life. Hoists, extra bannisters, chair lifts, wet rooms, specialist beds and mattresses can all make a shattered life feel more bearable.

A specially adapted car can get you back into the wider world. So you can once again take part in the everyday activities you used to do before your injuries. Even basic tasks such as going shopping or taking the kids to school can have a positive effect on your well-being. So much better than being stuck in front of an increasingly depressing TV.

Medical negligence compensation is not about winning the lottery. It’s about helping you to get your life back on track, to the way it was before the doctors injured you.

You’re going to need that money. Not just for your physical injuries – but also to help treat the psychological trauma that goes with them.

Further Reading

Have You Been Injured? Get Expert Legal Help

Are you a victim of mistakes by the NHS or other healthcare clinicians? 

Discover how to claim compensation using a No Win, No Fee agreement, so there is no financial risk to you. (99% of our claims are settled without ever going to court).

Contact Coles Miller Partner David Simpson, who leads our team of medical negligence solicitors. He is based at our Poole head office.

This document is not intended to constitute and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice on any specific matter. No liability for the accuracy of the content of this document, or the consequences of relying on it, is assumed by the author. If you seek further information, please contact Managing Partner Neil Andrews at Coles Miller Solicitors LLP.