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There are over 23 million* (NHS Digital figures for 2017/2018) attendances at Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments in England every year.

Whilst treatment provided in A&E departments is usually of an excellent standard, errors are sometimes made which cause serious injury to the patient. When this happens, patients have a right to claim compensation. 

At Boyes Turner we are experienced in dealing with claims for injuries caused by accident and emergency negligence.

What types of injury can Boyes Turner help you claim compensation for?

People are already ill or injured when they go to A&E, but correct A&E care can heal treatable conditions, or prevent deterioration and reduce avoidable, long-term harm.

Where negligent delay or incorrect medical treatment leaves the patient with additional serious injury or disability which was avoidable with correct care, the patient can claim compensation for the additional injury.

Avoidable injuries which lead to claims after negligent A&E treatment include:

  • amputation;
  • brain injury and permanent disability;
  • paralysis, e.g. paraplegia, tetraplegia, hemiplegia;
  • damage to vital organs;
  • long-term disability;
  • death.

What is accident and emergency (A&E)?

A&E is the name commonly given to the department of a hospital which provides emergency treatment for people who have been seriously injured in an accident or who are seriously ill.  This area of a hospital is sometimes known as ‘casualty’.

A&E departments are usually open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Patients may arrive by ambulance or make their own way to A&E without the need for a GP referral or hospital appointment.

Part of the A&E staff team’s job is to assess quickly which patients should be prioritised for treatment, depending on their injury. The process of deciding who gets priority is known as triage. Patients are then assessed by a doctor or nurse and may be referred for further investigations, such as x-rays and scans, or for review or treatment by a specialist. They may be admitted to hospital for urgent treatment, referred to another hospital or a GP, given an appointment to attend a clinic at a later date, or simply sent home (discharged).

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What types of A&E errors can you claim compensation for?

Many A&E compensation claims arise from errors made during triage prioritising who gets urgent treatment and initial assessment, including:

  • failure to recognise warning signs (red flag symptoms) or diagnose a serious condition;
  • delayed or misdiagnosis;
  • failing to ask a specialist in a particular condition to review the patient;
  • failure to investigate a serious condition properly, by carrying out x-rays, scans or other tests;
  • misinterpreting the results of investigations;
  • failing to examine the patient properly resulting in a misdiagnosis;
  • delay or failure to treat an emergency condition urgently, e.g. with antibiotics or surgery;
  • failing to admit a patient who needs urgent treatment to hospital;
  • sending a patient home without proper treatment, referral or advice about what to do if their condition continues or gets worse.

Medical negligence claims can also arise from negligent ambulance/paramedic care.

The NHS says that the role of A&E is to deal with genuine, life-threatening emergencies, including:

  • loss of consciousness;
  • acute (starting suddenly) confusion and ongoing fits (seizures/convulsions);
  • chest pain;
  • breathing difficulties;
  • severe bleeding;
  • severe allergic reactions;
  • severe burns or scalds;
  • stroke;
  • major trauma (serious life-threatening or disabling injury), such as a head injury, spinal injury or multiple fractures from a fall or road traffic accident.

Not all life-threatening or disabling injuries are obvious from the way the patient looks without further investigation. Some are diagnosed from the patient’s history (their previous health), symptoms and the results of further tests or investigations. Mistakes can be made which cause serious injury and lifelong disability if the A&E team:

  • fail to ask the patient or their family about their medical history;
  • fail to examine the patient properly;
  • fail to order the correct tests and investigations (e.g. x-rays or blood tests);
  • fail to interpret investigation results properly.

Our experienced clinical negligence solicitors can help severely injured clients claim substantial compensation for A&E negligence in the treatment of:

  • sepsis;
  • meningitis;
  • cauda equina;
  • spinal injury;
  • head injury;
  • subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH);
  • subdural haemorrhage or haematoma (SDH);
  • aortic aneurysm;
  • stroke;
  • heart attack and other cardiac conditions;
  • ischaemia (restriction of blood flow);
  • DVT/embolism or blood clots;
  • anaphylaxis (a sudden, severe, life-threatening allergic reaction).
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Meet your team

Susan Brown

Partner

Richard Money-Kyrle

Partner

Julie Marsh

Senior associate - solicitor

Vanessa Wand

Senior associate - solicitor

Nicola Anderson

Associate - solicitor

Rachel Makore

Associate - solicitor

Alpa Rana

Associate - solicitor

Fran Rothwell

Associate solicitor

Sita Soni

Associate - solicitor

Tara Byrne

Solicitor

Ben Ireland

Solicitor

Audrey Elmore

Medical records coordinator

Nicky Melville

Professional support assistant

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"Successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation"

Boyes Turner staff were always helpful and quick to respond. Communicating from the other side of the world presented no problems. Boyes Turner secured generous early interim payments that allowed me to continue my (non-funded) medical treatment that otherwise I could never have afforded. My Boyes Turner solicitor successfully negotiated a full and fair compensation and continuation of funding for future medical treatment and associated costs giving me great peace of mind. Thank you so much Annabelle! I would recommend Boyes Turner solicitors. They are professional, courteous and helpful. 

Brian

"More compensation than expected"

"Boyes Turner provided us really great support and the staff are very professional & supportive. They kept us up to date at all stages and helped us win the case. We got more compensation than expected. We will definitely recommend them to our friends". 

Boyes Turner client

"Clear and understandable advice"

Your explanations and advice were clear and understandable and seemed eminently sensible. Clearly they were, with the result achieved. 

Eddie West

"Fantastic and invaluable support"

The advice and support I had from the team was fantastic and invaluable. They put mine and my wife's mind at rest on many occasions and got a great result for us. Thank you from all of us. 

Mr Horne

"No hesitation in recommending "

Your easy and friendly manner has made a difficult situation much more tolerable. We shall have no hesitation in recommending Boyes Turner to anyone who might need your help. 

Mr & Mrs Smith