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A misdiagnosis or failure to correctly treat a subarachnoid haemorrhage can result in serious brain injury with lifelong disability, or death. Early diagnosis and treatment of a subarachnoid haemorrhage is critical.
We understand the complexities involved in these difficult claims and have helped a number of clients recover compensation where they experienced disability or the loss of a loved one upon whom they were dependent owing to a negligent failure to treat subarachnoid haemorrhage correctly.
Our medical negligence team are highly experienced in securing compensation for brain injured and severely disabled clients whose disability arose, wholly or in part, from negligent delays in their medical treatment.
Brain injury cases arising from SAH are complex and are often defended on the basis that even with prompt treatment the patient would have suffered some brain damage from the bleeding into the brain. These claims require expert specialist handling by brain injury specialists.
Where our client’s surgical treatment for SAH has been negligently delayed, causing additional severe brain injury and consequent disability, our experienced specialist brain injury lawyers work hard to make sure that the full extent of our client’s additional injury and disability and its impact on their life is properly assessed, rehabilitated early , and appropriately compensated.
We work closely with our trusted medical experts to investigate whether the care that our client received from ambulance, A&E and neurosurgical teams met acceptable standards for this life-threatening condition, and whether previous opportunities to identify and minimise our client’s risk of SAH from cerebral aneurysm rupture were acted upon by their doctors.
With liability established, we apply for early interim payments to facilitate early intervention and rehabilitation and therapies, and to meet the costs of necessary care, home adaptations and specialist equipment. Interim payments can also alleviate the financial hardship that is suffered when our client is unable to return to work following a brain injury.
We assess the extent and lifelong impact of the brain injury and loss of function and the compensation required to meet our client’s needs with the help of experts in a variety of disciplines. These depend on the circumstances of each individual’s case but often include care and case managers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech and language therapists and psychologists.
We ensure that our clients’ damages settlements are structured to provide them with security and flexibility using lump sum and index-linked annual payments (PPOs) according to their needs.
Where negligent delays in the treatment of a patient with SAH has caused their death, we help the deceased’s dependents claim compensation for their loss.
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Subarachnoid haemorrhage or SAH is the term used to describe bleeding into the subarachnoid space, between the membranes on the brain’s surface, which causes a stroke. The bleeding usually, but not always, follows the rupture of a cerebral aneurysm (a bulge in a weakened blood vessel).
Cerebral (brain) aneurysms can be completely symptomless until they rupture and bleed into the area around the brain. If a cerebral aneurysm is detected before it ruptures, for example, if the pressure on the brain causes the patient symptoms, such as impaired vision, pain around an eye or on one side of their face, or persistent headaches, surgery may be recommended to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing and causing an SAH.
As most cerebral aneurysms are symptomless and remain undetected until they rupture, SAH tends to occur without prior warning. Sometimes SAH occurs after the patient has engaged in activity involving physical effort or straining.
If an individual is known to have a cerebral aneurysm then they have an increased risk of SAH and should receive medical advice about surgical treatment to reduce the risk of rupture.
Most people with cerebral aneurysms do not know that they have them. They are difficult to predict and are therefore difficult to prevent.
An individual’s risk of SAH might be increased by:
Ruptured cerebral (brain) aneurysm is a major cause of SAH.
Other, less common, causes of SAH include:
Subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) is a medical emergency. If an individual is suspected to have suffered an SAH they need emergency admission to hospital where the diagnosis will be confirmed by a CT scan. If the CT scan does not confirm SAH but their symptoms cause their medical advisors to suspect SAH, they will undergo a lumbar puncture to check their cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) for any evidence that there has been bleeding into the brain.
A patient who is thought to have SAH will be transferred to a hospital with cranial neurosurgery facilities. If the SAH was caused by a ruptured cerebral aneurysm, it will be surgically repaired to prevent further bleeding, either by a surgical procedure known as clipping, in which a craniotomy is performed and the blood vessel is clipped to prevent further bleeding, or by coiling, in which a catheter is inserted into a blood vessel in the patient’s leg or groin and platinum coils are fed into the aneurysm through the catheter. Clipping and coiling are both carried out under general anaesthetic.
The patient may also be given medication:
SAH is the cause of 5% of strokes in the UK. In England, approximately 6,000 people each year are admitted to hospital with SAH.
It is most common between the ages of 45 and 75, occurs slightly more often in women than in men, but it can occur at any age.
A ruptured blood vessel and SAH causes damage to the brain as the blood (and oxygen) supply is reduced and pressure on the brain is increased by the bleeding into the subarachnoid space.
After the initial haemorrhage, the patient with SAH remains at risk of further complications:
Longer term effects of brain injury from SAH depend on the severity of the SAH and its location inside the brain but can include:
Even with correct treatment, bleeding from a ruptured brain aneurysm can cause rapid and extensive damage to the brain. Half of all incidents of SAH end in fatality. In 30% of SAH cases, death occurs within 24 hours.
After SAH occurs, any delay in admission to hospital and surgical treatment increases the already high risk of severe brain damage and disability or death.
The recommended diagnosis-to-surgical treatment deadline (a recommendation from the 2013 National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD)) for bleeding brain aneurysms is 48 hours but (according to the GIRFT Cranial Neurosurgery team’s report 2018 ) that treatment target is not met in about 10% of SAH patients.
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Medical negligence is when a medical professional, such as a doctor, midwife, or nurse, or other healthcare practitioner is negligent if they act in a way that falls below any acceptable standard of care.
If someone is injured as a result of medical negligence, they are entitled to compensation for any injury that was caused and for the financial consequences of that injury.
Medical negligence claims that involve severe injury and disability should always be handled by specialist medical negligence solicitors. It takes experience and skill to successfully prove that medical negligence has caused a patient’s injuries, and to secure the highest levels of compensation.
Anyone who has suffered serious injury or disability as a result of negligent NHS or private medical care can make a medical negligence claim for compensation. Special rules apply to children, adults with mental incapacity, and claims arising from a fatal injury/someone’s death.
Children and teenagers under the age of 18, or anyone with mental incapacity, must make their claim via a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian in the case of a child, or a partner or other adult family member in the case of an adult with mental incapacity. The solicitor handling the claim takes instructions and works closely with the litigation friend whilst ensuring that decisions are made in the best interests of the child or mentally incapable adult who is making the claim. You can find out more about making a claim for a child.
Some important decisions, such as agreements to settle a child or mentally incapable adult’s claim, must be approved by the court. Arrangements must also be made to safeguard the child or mentally incapable adult’s compensation, whether from an interim payment, lump sum settlement or agreed future payments. Depending on the claimant’s circumstances, this may be done by paying the money into a Court Funds Office account until the child is 18, by appointing a Court of Protection deputy or setting up a personal injury trust. You can find out more about Court of Protection deputyship and personal injury trusts.
If the claim is for bereaved family members and dependants after medical negligence caused someone’s death, the claim must be made by the deceased’s personal representative (executor or administrator of their estate) on behalf of all who are entitled to compensation as a result of the death. You can find out more about making a fatal injury medical negligence claim here.
The NHS has a responsibility to provide its patients with a safe and acceptable level of care. If a patient is seriously injured or their condition is made significantly worse as a result of negligent NHS care, the patient may be entitled to claim compensation.
Compensation can help meet the costs of care, therapies, equipment and home adaptations that are needed when an NHS mistake causes injury or disability that permanently affects the patient’s life.
We are experts at helping clients receive the compensation they deserve from the NHS. We understand the concerns that patients and their families sometimes have about claiming against the NHS. You can read our answers to many of the most common questions on our NHS claims page or speak to one of our solicitors about your own claim by contacting us.
Whilst we cannot guarantee that any particular claim will settle out of court, we take great care in investigating and preparing each claim that we take on. Our clients’ claims usually settle successfully without the need for a contested trial.
Occasionally, cases can only be concluded by a formal court hearing, such as where:
Where our client’s claim is complicated by any of the above, we may advise our client that for the case to proceed, it must go to a court hearing. Our caring and highly experienced medical negligence solicitors and barristers ensure that our clients are always kept informed and supported.
Even in non-contested cases, there will be occasions when the case is brought for shorter hearings before the court, such as after a settlement for a child or brain injured adult without mental capacity takes place. In these cases, the lawyers for both sides present the agreed settlement to the court for the judge’s approval.
Each claimant’s compensation is calculated in accordance with mandatory rules based on their individual circumstances.
Compensation for medical negligence should put the injured person back in the position that they would have been in if the negligence hadn’t happened, in so far as money can.
In a medical negligence claim, the amount of compensation depends on:
Compensation for medical negligence usually includes a sum for the injury, and sums to compensate for financial losses and the cost of meeting the needs that arise from the disability.
Our medical negligence solicitors ensure clients receive their compensation in the way that is best suited to meet their needs.
Depending on our clients’ injuries, individual circumstances and needs, we can recover compensation to pay for:
Where medical negligence caused someone’s death, compensation may be claimed by the deceased’s dependants and on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Compensation in a fatal injury medical negligence claim can be paid for:
There are three ways to fund a medical negligence claim, legal aid, no win no fee, and legal expense insurance.
A medical examination is usually needed to assess our client’s injury. Where our client has suffered multiple injuries or both physical and psychological injuries, they may need to be examined by specialists in each area. This is important to make sure that our client’s injuries are fully assessed and understood, so that they can be properly compensated.
If a medical examination is needed, we instruct the specialist and make the arrangements. We ensure that they have access to our client’s medical records and are aware of the background to the claim. The hospital or doctor against whom the claim is being made may also ask for our client to be examined by their medical expert.
The law states that, in most cases, someone who has been injured as a result of medical negligence has three years from the date of the negligence which caused the injury to issue court proceedings. If they fail to issue court proceedings within that time, their claim will be statute barred, meaning that they lose their right to bring a claim.
There are the following exceptions to the three-year rule:
Regardless of your time limit, we recommend that you contact our medical negligence solicitors as soon as you can, even if at that stage you are only considering whether to make a claim.
By contacting us early, it avoids later problems with deadlines and allows us to advise you on how to collect and preserve essential evidence. This enables us to ensure you have the best chance of securing your entitlement to full compensation for your claim.
If a baby, child, or teenager under the age of 18 makes a claim for compensation for injuries caused by medical negligence, their claim is made on their behalf by a ‘litigation friend’. This is usually a parent or guardian.
As the child’s solicitor, we have a responsibility to make sure that all decisions relating to the claim are made in the best interests of the child. To do this, we work very closely with the child’s family. Some important decisions, such as settlement agreements or the amount of money that is allocated to a child in a claim involving more than one claimant, must be approved by the court.
We are specialists in helping families obtain full compensation for children who have been very severely injured, leaving them with permanent disability and lifelong specialist needs. Our expert children’s claims service includes a dedicated Court of Protection team who help our clients protect, budget and access their compensation via deputyship and trusts, and an SEN team to ensure that their special educational needs are met. Find out more about how we help families, children, and teenagers with children’s claims.
If you think that you or a family member have received negligent medical treatment or have experienced malpractice, we recommend that you speak to one of our friendly, experienced clinical negligence claim solicitors as soon as possible.
You can contact us by telephone or by email. Your enquiry will be handled confidentially and preliminary advice in relation to pursuing a claim will be given free of charge.
Our medical negligence solicitors will ask you to tell us briefly what has happened, advise you about the limitation deadlines (time limits) which apply to your claim and whether we are able to help you investigate your claim.
Once our initial investigations have taken place, we will notify the defendant (hospital or doctor) of your intention to pursue a claim and invite them to respond, giving them an opportunity to admit liability, before court proceedings are issued.
If liability is admitted, we will enter judgment and apply for an interim payment as soon as possible to meet any urgent needs that you may have as a result of the negligently caused injury.
If liability is disputed, we will discuss with you the further steps that we need to take to progress your claim.
Our extensive guide on making a medical negligence claim explains the whole process, if you require any further information.
The duration of a medical negligence claim depends on the individual circumstances of the client’s case. The claim is likely to take less time to conclude where:
Circumstances which make the claim more complex and therefore take longer to resolve include:
Our medical negligence solicitors work hard to secure early admissions of liability and substantial interim payments so that we can begin to alleviate financial hardship and provide essential care, respite, specialist equipment, therapies and home adaptations long before the claim has settled. With liability judgments secured and interim funds in place, the individual and their family are able to focus on rebuilding their lives whilst we concentrate on valuing and negotiating settlement of the claim.
Compensation is carefully structured to ensure the best provision for the injured person’s needs. Our clients often benefit from different types of compensation, including:
Where healthcare is found to be (legally) negligent, then the claimant (the person making the claim) must prove that their injury was caused or significantly worsened by the negligent care.
This is important because the patient may already be very ill when they receive negligent medical care. In those circumstances, they must prove that their injury (and its financial consequences) would have been avoided or greatly reduced if correct treatment had been given. This aspect of the medical negligence claim is known as ‘causation’. Causation must be proven, even if negligence is admitted, for the claim to succeed and compensation to be awarded.
Negligence and causation must be proven by supportive opinions from medical experts. We instruct experts in the same field of medicine as the negligent care to tell us whether the care that was given was of a reasonable standard. If negligence is proven, we ask medical specialists in the type of injury suffered, to confirm whether our client’s injury was caused or made worse by the negligent treatment, or would have been reduced or avoided with correct care.
In a medical negligence claim, compensation will only be paid for injuries and loss that we can prove were caused by the healthcare provider’s negligence. Once we know what mistakes were made, the next step (causation) is to identify the extent of the injury or disability that was caused by those mistakes.
Proving causation in complex medical negligence cases requires both medical expertise and understanding of the law. We often succeed in claims where NHS Resolution (the NHS’ defence organisation) has denied ‘causation’. You can read more about how we overcome difficulties with causation in complex birth injury cases.
Our medical negligence and personal injury teams have been nationally recognised for over 20 years because of their expertise, empathy and commitment to securing maximum compensation for our clients.
Fran has been an amazing support through a very difficult time for me and my family. Always available to speak and kept me in the loop with anything happening, she has been so kind, and I thank her so much for helping and getting my mum the justice she deserved.
What has to be some of the most testing horrible times was dealt with in a dignified, honest, approachable and truly empathetic manner. I could not begin to do Susan justice for her handling of our case.
I approached Boyes Turner after my claim was turned down by one of the Medical Negligence Claim company. My wife was a victim of medical negligence.
Boyes Turner have acted so efficiently on our behalf and was able to win our case. Anytime we contact them, their customer service was very good as they kept us fully informed of every level our case has developed. They are very friendly and approachable and great in their professional advise. I would strongly recommend anyone approach them for their legal and medical negligence services.
Thoroughly professional, knowledgable and approachable with communication and updates as and when needed, in what can be a drawn out process, I was always comfortable asking questions and always received answers which were clear and understandable. Highly recommend
I came to Boyes Turner desperate after searching the web for a firm to use for my sons case. He was only a few months so my mind was all over the place, but from the very first point of contact I felt a sense of relieve and belonging. I was welcomed and looked after by amazing staff who always communicated everything so well and went the extra mile to explain things and ensure I understood what was happening every step of the way (THANK YOU SUSAN BROWN). Susan was amazing I felt like I not only had a solicitor but someone who understood my emotions as a mother and always handled me with so much compassion and that was all I needed to keep me going for the 6 years of the case. Years went by in a breeze because of how professional Boyes Turner was. I am so greatful I went through it all with them and mananged to get my son a good compensation. We look forward our new life where my sons needs are priority after struggling for so long. Thank you Boyes Turner and thank you Susan Brown. My family and I are ever indebted.