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Frequently Asked Questions - Birth Injury Claims

Q: Why make a complaint against the hospital?

A: There are several reasons why you should file a complaint:

  • The Complaints procedure deals not only with issues that might potentially relate to negligence but it is also a forum for complaining about poor communication, poor hygiene and staff attitudes to name but a few.
  • If local resolution of the complaint is unsatisfactory, it enables you to report your complaint to the Health Services Ombudsman who might make recommendations for improvements in practice.
  • To gather information about your care and treatment while an in-patient or out-patient, which may assist your legal representative if you decide to pursue a claim for clinical negligence.
  • It might result in an Internal Enquiry, which could result in changes to practice being made as a result of you bringing the hospital’s shortcomings to light, and at the same time, assist your legal representative if you decide to pursue a claim.
  • It will assist your legal representative to make a risk assessment so the he/she can make an informed decision on whether to offer you a Conditional Fee Agreement with After the Event Insurance.

Q: What is substandard treatment?

A: This is assessed on a case by case basis but basically we have to show that the standard of care that you have been given falls below a reasonable standard of care. We generally need an expert to set out the normal standard of care and then we see whether care has departed from that standard. However when care or a course of treatment given is supported by only a minority of doctors there may still be a defence to a claim.

Q: Can I claim because I have had a complicated recovery?

A: Not necessarily. Sometimes this is a sign that there has been a lowering of the standard of care but this is not always the case and sometimes recovery takes a long time because of a complication that is non negligent.

Q: Will bringing a claim affect my treatment?

A: Doctors have a duty to continue to treat patients as part of the ongoing care and bringing a claim should not affect this ongoing duty of care. However, it is sometimes difficult or awkward to continue to see the same doctors if a claim is being investigated.

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