Is Medical Negligence Sydney’s Silent Scourge? | BPC Law Blog

There is an endless amount of work for medical negligence lawyers in Sydney, but if there are so many cases of medical negligence, why are so many people unaware that it is going on right under their noses?

Medical Negligence

On the ABC’s Radio National program Lorraine Long, the founder of the Medical Error Action Group, described how her organisation would receive up to 50 complaints a day that could be classed as medical error. Estimates have been made that in Australia 18,000 people die each year as a result of medical error, but the lack of medical records and linking of the data means that this number is only an estimate and not a fact. It’s alarming nonetheless. But why are cases not being reported?

Lorraine Long believes that the reason medical negligence is so rarely discussed on a national level is because there is this belief that doctors don’t make mistake, and the way cases of medical negligence are handled is to make sure it’s done as quietly as possible. So why hasn’t anything been done to stop this?

In 1995, the Quality in Australian Health Care Study was presented to the federal government. It claimed that 16.6% of admitted patients suffered from medical negligence, whether it was fatal or lead to some form of disability. Since the release of the study the processes used and the conclusions drawn have been a centre of debate in medical, academic, and political circles. But has there been a change in legislation as a result of this report?

In 2003, Australia became the first country to have a nationwide open disclosure policy. The idea was to get doctors and health services talking honestly and openly with patients if something does go wrong. However, in practice hospitals have been known to make patients sign contracts saying they won’t sue before telling them anything. It can then seem like the only option is to sue to find out what really happened. But is that an option?

Unfortunately, it can be very hard to win a case of medical negligence. The law is clear that you need to have a permanent injury that is deemed as significant – it has to affect more than five per cent of your body. Worryingly, it’s only about three per cent of doctors who are the cause of 50% of reported cases of medical negligence.

Advertisements

Medical Negligence Lawyers: Seeking Restitution | BPC Law Blog

If you have been the victim of medical negligence, a specialist lawyer in Sydney can help you get compensation. But what do you need to do?

Medical negligence

Firstly, you need to work out if you have a case at all. To fall under the definition of medical negligence, a medical practitioner has to have been negligent in their care of you. The negligence could be that:

  • They did something they shouldn’t have (like operate on the wrong part),
  • They did something without your consent
  • They didn’t explain everything to you and warn you of risks so your consent could not be fully given
  • They caused you injury

So now you know if you qualify as a victim of medical negligence, what next?

Anyone can say anything about anybody, but if you want to be successful in court, you need to show evidence. Whenever you go in for a medical procedure, it’s a good idea to hold onto reports and letters relating to your condition for your medical history and for insurance purposes, but if you do become a victim of medical negligence, these will become the backbone of your case. You need to show that what the doctor did wasn’t what you discussed or what the reports and letters recommended. Here are a few examples of things to hang onto:

  • Letters from your GP
  • Letters from specialists
  • X-rays and ultrasounds
  • Blood test results and any other test results

Medical negligence Sydney

Of course the evidence gathering doesn’t stop after the procedure. Some of the things you can do to prove that what the doctor did has harmed you can include:

  • Photographs of the affected area (if applicable)
  • Invoices and bills from other medical professionals you’ve had to see as a result of medical negligence (e.g. needing additional surgery)
  • Test results, x-rays, and ultrasounds that prove that you are still suffering from the condition you went in with, or alternatively, proving that they did something wrong (e.g. operated on the wrong part)

What you’ll need to gather and keep will, of course, depend on the individual case of your medical negligence.

Once you have your evidence, it’s time to start talking to lawyers. Remember, if you come forward to say that doctor did something wrong, you could be saving someone else from going through the same pain you did.

Poor Records and Medical Negligence

Medical negligence lawyers in Sydney and around Australia are incredibly important. We presume that because we live in a first world country that our hospitals are some of the best in the world. They are not and there are plenty of opportunities for medical negligence lawyers to help patients achieve some sort of justice.medical negligence

In June, the poor medical record keeping practices in Australian hospitals were highlighted when a woman was awarded $360,000 compensation for the death of her newborn son. Estimates have suggested that 18 thousand people die every year because of a medical error, while another 50 thousand suffer permanent injuries due to medical errors.

However, there is no system of collection and linking when it comes to data regarding medical errors, so the figures could be even higher. The Medical Error Action Group says that they receive around 50 complaints a day that can be called medical errors.The Medical Error Action Group also suggests that one in ten patients will fall foul of a medical error, if they’re particularly unlucky, an error that involves the wrong surgery site or even the wrong patient. Other cases have involved patients dying from being given medication they are allergic to because doctors have not checked their records or the medical records are incorrect.

There is the strong belief held by those who have seen the results of medical errors or experienced them themselves that even after the 1995 Quality in Australian Health Care Study found that medical errors occurred with 16.6% of patients, doctors and medical organisations are covering things up.

This is where victims need to seek the help of medical negligence lawyers. It is thought that around three per cent of practising doctors are accounting for half of the complaints of medical negligence. Presumably the same errors keep happening. These doctors need to be taken to court and the patients properly compensated to prevent it from continuing to happen.

If you are looking at medical negligence lawyers in Sydney, call BPC Lawyers on (02) 8355 4002, or enquire online at http://www.bpclaw.com.au.

Medical Negligence in Canberra Hospital

It can be easy to think that we do not need medical negligence lawyers in Sydney, or anywhere else in Australia for that matter, but that is simply not true. You need to have only opened a newspaper or logged onto a news website in the last six months to see that the field of medical negligence lawyers is still greatly required throughout Australia. Previously, we have seen negligent Queensland doctors forcing a change in the Queensland Board of the Medical Board of Australia members and the creation of a specialist Health ombudsman, and we have seen Dr Jayant Patel return to the courts for a retrial over three counts of manslaughter. But there is still even more recent cases of medical negligence in Australia, this time in the nation’s capital of Canberra.

medical malpracticeIn the mid-90s, Dr Gerald McLaren raised concerns about Canberra Hospital’s former head of neurosurgery, Dr Raymond Newcombe. There was an initial investigation, and, in 1998, an audit. In particular Dr McLaren was concerned about Dr Newcombe’s surgical skills. Another investigation was conducted in 2003 and in 2007 the Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Appeals Tribunal held a hearing into allegations against Dr Newcombe of medical malpractice. The decision was released at the end of last month: Dr Raymond Newcombe went against standards of practice by failing to maintain public protection and safety.

What the Tribunal found is quite shocking and disturbing. It says that Dr Newcombe performed surgery on the wrong part of the brain of a patient, he used the wrong instrument during one or more surgeries, he failed to provide suitable and satisfactory post operative and clinical care, and he also failed to ensure accurate and complete clinical records about a patient.

Dr Raymond Newcombe retired in 2004 and Canberra Hospital believes enough changes have been made since Dr Newcombe to prevent a similar or repeat incident. Of course, time will tell if this is really true.

With such a recent instance of disturbing medical malpractice, it is more important than ever that Australian patients are aware that there are medical negligence lawyers at hand if they need them. If you are looking for medical negligence lawyers in Sydney, call BPC Lawyers on (02) 8355 4002, or enquire online at http://www.bpclaw.com.au.

Strange Insurance Claims

There are many law firms around the world that offer No Win No Pay Lawyers. And in some very bizarre and strange cases, this system of No Win No Pay would have been very comforting for the claimants. It may seem that Insurance Lawyers in Sydney, and indeed around the world, would not get those sorts of strange claims but here is a list of five strange and true insurance claims:Insurance claims

  1. A farmer in the UK wanted to make a claim for his iPhone failing to work properly. That is a fairly standard claim, however, it no longer worked because one dark, stormy night, he was using his iPhone as a light source while helping one of his cows give birth. During the calving, he lost the iPhone in the cow’s rear end. When it reappeared some days later it failed to work. His claim was successful.
  2. Paula Catelli was a bride in Italy. For her wedding, she wore a beautiful handmade dress. Unfortunately, her wedding dress was made of a synthetic material that ignited when she stood too close to a barbeque. Her new husband saved her by throwing her into the sea. Her insurance company paid her 50% compensation for the mishap.
  3. Around Christmas time, a man was driving home from shopping. Ahead of him, coming the other way down the road, was a car with a Christmas tree poorly tied to its roof. Almost instantly after the man made this observation, the Christmas tree came loose from the roof of the car, smashing into the man’s bonnet, and making him swerve off the road into a hedge. The man’s insurance company paid out all the damages.
  4. A family were holidaying on the beach in the UK. The two children decided the best way to protect their family video camera from being stolen while they went swimming was to bury it in the sand. They forgot where they buried it and their insurer covered the loss.
  5. A tourist in Athens became distracted while walking by a group of women in bikinis. He broke his nose when he walked into the side of a bus shelter. His hospital bills were covered.

There are no restrictions relating to sensibleness or embarrassment when it comes to what an insurance lawyer can help you claim for. If you are considering insurance lawyers in Sydney, call BPC Lawyers on (02) 8355 4002. They are also No Win No Pay Lawyers.

Workplace Bullying and Compensation

Recent moves by Safe Work Australia has seen the definition of work place bullying be expanded, and therefore, there are more cases of workplace bullying for a victim to hire workers compensation lawyers in Sydney and throughout Australia to fight for them. Workers compensation lawyers can be employed when a person is injured at work or suffers an illness arising from work. Workplace bullying falls under this definition as injury stands for both physical and mental afflictions, and, therefore, a claim for workers compensation can be made. But what is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is repeated, unreasonable behaviour towards a worker, or workers, that creates a risk to their health and safety.

Unreasonable behaviour includes:

  • Abusive, offensive, or insulting language.
  • Undue criticism.
  • Excluding a person from normal work activities.
  • Withholding vital information that affects a person’s work performance.
  • Setting unreasonable time constraints or constantly changing deadlines.
  • Overloading a person with work, or, alternatively, not giving them enough work.
  • Setting tasks that are well below or above a person’s skill level.
  • Spreading rumours about a person.
  • Denying access to information, supervision, resources or consultation, leading to negative effects to the worker in question.
  • Not allowing a worker access to workplace entitlements like leave.

However, there are some things that are not deemed as workplace bullying for various reasons.

Not counted as workplace bullying include:

  • Reasonable management action, including telling a worker their performance is unsatisfactory, after following performances management guidelines.
  • Discrimination and harassment: there are different laws to deal with these matters.
  • A single incident of unreasonable behaviour.
  • Violence: again there are other laws and procedures to deal with these matters.

If you are considering a workers compensation claim in regards to workplace bullying, there are several things compensation lawyers may ask you to do and keep in mind.

Remember:

  • Keep records of the incidents.
  • Back up your claim with medical evidence (this includes psychological injuries).
  • Strict time limits apply to workers compensation claims.
  • A compensation claim may not stop the bullying.

Workplace Bullying(source: http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Money/Pix/pictures/2009/11/2/1257174560550/workplace-bullying-001.jpg)

If you are interested in compensation lawyers in Sydney, call BPC Lawyers on (02) 8355 4003, or enquire online at http://www.bpclaw.com.au.

Three Advantages of Hiring Insurance Lawyers in Sydney

If you have met an accident, especially one that significantly impacts your ability to earn income or affects your opportunity for gainful employment, you need to consider hiring insurance lawyers in Sydney. They can help you easily receive a fair compensation for damages and injury from your company or from your insurance provider.

personal injury lawyerThe following are three of the biggest reasons why you need to hire an insurance lawyer for your injury claim

Knowledge of insurance and injury laws

Insurance and injury laws may vary by state and city. Individual circumstances may also vary. Unless you have prior experience in personal injury, or you have sufficient background and information about insurance laws, you may be unfamiliar with the laws and the provisions surrounding insurance claims. In other words, you may lack the knowledge about the things you are entitled to, and your insurance provider could take advantage of you.

If you decide to go about your case on your own, you could waste huge amounts of time, and even more lost opportunity for income, trying to learn about the things related to personal injury. But with an experienced insurance lawyer, you will have someone instantly interpret and apply those laws to your case.

Capable of negotiating for fair compensation

An experienced and extremely knowledgeable insurance lawyer can help you get fair compensation from your insurance provider.

It’s sad to note that there are insurance companies who underpay or pay incomplete compensation to injured individuals, especially if they are not represented by a personal injury lawyer. That’s because they know no one will help the person interpret the laws surrounding the case. This is why it is very important to have a legal expert represent you in the courts, or to help you negotiate an out of court settlement. In most cases, with the help of a lawyer, the injured person doesn’t need to do anything.

Fair representation in the court

If you are inexperienced, who can tell you whether the personal injury settlement you’re being offered is fair? An experienced lawyer will help you determine that and dispute any questionable settlement in a court of law.

Also, if you hire a reputable insurance lawyer, there’s a good chance that they offer a No Win, No Pay guarantee, which means you only pay them their fees when they’ve successfully won your case.

For more information on hiring insurance lawyers in Sydney, visit BPC Lawyers at www.BPCLaw.com.au or call 02 8355 4002.