The legal aspects of clinical negligence cases

Not every course of treatment is successful – there’s nothing that can be done about it so far. Adverse outcomes may be due to an incurable disease, atypical nature of the disease, a delayed treatment course, the hidden patient’s hypersensitivity to some drugs, anomalies of development of individual organs and systems, and etc.

In such cases, the assessment of adverse impact of treatment causes difficulties even in qualified personnel. It is primarily explained by the specifics of medical practice, very different from other professions. Firstly, for other professions (driver, builder, and etc.) each death associated with their activities is always unnatural and likely to be caused as a result of some ‘illegal’ actions. The lethal outcome in the treatment process (incurable disease) often depends on the actions of medical workers, but in the presence of certain objective conditions it is not considered to be unnatural and/or unlawful. Secondly, the activities of workers in other occupations are usually regulated by certain rules and regulations (for example, road traffic rules, safety regulations in the production of construction work, etc.). In lethal cases where a person gets hit by a car, or at the construction site, the rules that have been violated, as well who stands behind them, can be figured out.

In assessing the effects of the medical actions, the situation is much more complicated. Although medical activities are regulated by numerous official rules, these documents do not provide coverage of all the diversity of medical services, especially in relation to the characteristics of the individual course of the disease in each patient. In this connection, the diagnosis and treatment of most diseases doesn’t include any official rules or instructions. Hence, the main and often the only criterion for assessing the medical staff is only certain provisions of medical science and medical practice. This way or the other, according to solicitors.guru, a prominent startup running the largest database of medical negligence solicitors, the amount of preliminary classifications of reasonability of claims is confirmed in 39 – 58% of cases in the UK.

It should be understood that in medical practice along with the newest methods of diagnosis and treatment relatively old and well proven, but not committed, treatment options still exist. However, with a large experience of the doctor, they are very effective. In addition, in medicine legalised a variety of methods of diagnosis and treatment of the same disease. The legitimacy of such distinctions not only follows from the results of scientific research, but is also supported by the daily medical practice. Furthermore, the practical activity of other professions usually deals with limited tasks – finding a sufficient resolution in a particular branch of science. Thus, the serial production of any machine starts to be produced only in the presence of appropriate materials, after the development of the project, development of the technology and testing prototypes. Standardisation facilitates the production of manufacturing technology equipment, its maintenance and repair.

The situation around medicine is different. Here, the research and practice of medical care are often closely intertwined. And this situation is not accidental. It is due to the specific provision of medical care, the interests of the patient as an individual course of the disease requires a doctor’s exceptional powers of observation, individual approach in the choice of means and methods of treatment, the correct evaluation of the effectiveness of selected assets, ie substantive elements of scientific research in the treatment of each patient. In medicine a standard approach to patients is doomed to failure, because each disease passes differently in each person.

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