In an episode of Coronation Street this week Kevin Webster had to make a heart breaking decision to allow doctors to amputate his 7 year old son’s foot to save him from dying from sepsis. He had developed the potentially fatal condition after grazing his knee while playing football. In real life thousands of parents every year are faced with the same terrible decision.


Denise McKeown
Denise McKeown
Partner - Health & Injury

According to the UK Sepsis Trust someone in the world dies of sepsis every 3.5 seconds. In the UK alone, 44,000 people lose their lives to sepsis every year. This is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combined. Globally, sepsis claims 6 million lives a year. Yet with early diagnosis it is easily treatable.

Sepsis (also known as blood poisoning) occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to an infection or injury. Normally the immune system fights infection – but sometimes, for reasons which are not  understood, it attacks the body’s own organs and tissues. If it is not treated immediately, sepsis can result in organ failure and death. Yet with early diagnosis, it can be treated with antibiotics.

The initial symptoms of Sepsis are flu-like symptoms, gastroenteritis or a chest infection. There is no one sign, and symptoms present differently between adults and children.

Sepsis and Clinical Negligence Claims

Jack’s half sister, Sophie Webster, was caring for Jack when he became ill. She sought help from a medical centre and a hospital but his symptoms were dismissed as a virus and she was told to give him liquid paracetamol. There was therefore a delay in making a correct diagnosis and commencing treatment. As a result Jack became severely ill and required an amputation of his foot to save his life. Sophie is now considering legal action against the medical centre and the hospital on the grounds that the delay caused the amputation.

McMillan Williams are specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitors. Our team of lawyers have dealt with several cases concerning a delay or failure to diagnose sepsis obtaining the maximum possible compensation for victims and their families to assist in rebuilding their lives.

We Can Help

At MW Solicitors our mission is “To make quality legal services accessible to everyone” including those who find themselves in a similar situation to the fictional Webster family.  We can help by acting quickly to secure funding by way of interim payment for rehabilitation, treatment and care packages whilst investigating the claim fully.

Our team of experienced and specialist Clinical Negligence Solicitors are here to help. Call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

In recent days MW Solicitors Head of Clinical Negligence – Adult Claims, Injury, Hasina Choudhury, had a recent high profile Inquest Judgement which found “gross failures” at Croydon University Hospital (CUH) in their treatment of a patient which ultimately caused her death.


Hasina Choudhury
Hasina Choudhury
Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence - Adult Claims

This was a tragic case of a 52 year old woman who died after choking on a small lump of ham in a salad, which she should not have been given, as her dietary requirements permitted for soft foods only.

Senior coroner Selena Lynch, heard testimony from 19 witnesses before giving a verdict on Thursday morning of accidental death contributed to by neglect and stated:

“cumulative failures by hospital staff to follow hospital procedure and good nursing practice”.

Representing the family, Hasina argued that policies and procedures at the hospital were “routinely ignored” and nurses and healthcare assistants were allowed to “do what they pleased”.

The findings have forced both an apology from the Hospital and changes to their safety policy, stating.  A Hospital spokesperson said:

“we have introduced additional safety checks when servicing meals to patients on special diets, and ensured nutrition noticeboards are used properly so safe eating requirements are clearly displayed for all ward staff to see.”

The family welcomed the hospital accepting their failures and after the hearing Hasina read out a family statement to the press which said:

“A series of errors has led to the tragic death of our client’s wife. Her death was entirely avoidable, policies and procedures that were in place were routinely ignored and nurses and healthcare assistants were allowed to do what they pleased.”

After our client’s wife’s death, the hospital refused to accept responsibility for the catalogue of errors and information which was miscommunicated to the family.

The hospital now accepts their failure led to our client’s wife’s death. Their apology is welcomed by the family, albeit arrived late.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including bereaved families who deserve to know the circumstances of their loved ones death.

If you would like to speak to a professional to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

The Injury Team at MW Guildford are proud to support Headway Surrey with a donation of £5,000.00.  Headway Surrey is delighted and very proud to have been chosen.

Headway Surrey is a registered charity that supports people with acquired brain injury.  Brain injury is often referred to as the “hidden” disability.  Unlike other life changing conditions people do not think about it in advance.  It is only when it actually happens, usually suddenly, to an individual – whether that be through a road traffic incident, a sports injury or even an illness such as a stroke – which people actually realise how traumatic, debilitating, frustrating and even frightening a brain injury can be.

(Right to Left: Sonja Freebody (CEO Headway Surrey, Keith Churchouse (Chapters Financial)
Hasina Choudhury (MW Solicitors Guildford)

Brain injury is a largely hidden disability.  Headway’s aims are to help rebuild a person’s independence and to enable the family to cope with the devastating trauma that has affected them. There are bespoke individual programs of rehabilitation, both in their centre and at home, befriending, helpline and carers support.  They specialise in memory skills, planning, prioritising, behavioural and executive skills.    This is often slow-stream cognitive therapy, and may take many years of rehabilitation.  The changes are small and slow, however, positive results are still seen many years after their injury.  The Rehabilitation Coordinators set small achievable goals and targets for each individual and work tirelessly with them to achieve their best. 

Sonja Freebody, CEO of Headway said:

“This £5,000 donation is a much needed boost to our Surrey service. It is fabulous to be supported by the Guildford Business Community. Our annual running costs are £200,000, we are a small local charity however we achieve a lot for all of those who attend and their families.”

Sarah Corbett, Partner and Clinical Negligence Solicitor at MW Solicitors Guildford office said:

“In my experience, brain injury has a profound effect on the lives of not only the injured person but also those around them.  I have assisted clients with varying degrees of brain injuries from those with profound injuries to those where there is a subtle brain injury, only obvious to those who know them well.  Sometimes it is only by getting to know people with brain injuries that you understand the implications that any type of brain injury, no matter the degree, can have upon an individuals’ daily activities.  We were glad to support this local Surrey based charity in order to help it continue to work tirelessly in the support of those with brain injuries and also to assist those around them.”

We Can Help

The MW team is here to provide expert support and guidance in what will be difficult and challenging times and put you in touch with other organisations that can help such as Headway Surrey.  Based on our wealth of experience we will  seek to achieve a financial result that makes a real difference to your long-term security.

If you would like to talk to us about your brain injury case call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us page

 


The Injury Department at McMillan Williams Solicitors have been supporting the bold and colourful Headscapes Art Exhibition at the Jubilee Library in Brighton over the last month, collecting donations, recruiting volunteers and spreading the word of the incredible work the Headway East Sussex brain injury charity do for our community.

The exhibition displayed artwork created by people who have brain injury, many capturing the beauty of Brighton and the South Coast in an adventurous and vibrant style. Art and therapy stimulates many different parts of the brain on both the right and the left sides, which can work to improve the links between the component parts of the brain in order to make it stronger. Headway East Sussex offer art sessions where attendees are able to explore the feelings and emotions that they are experiencing due to brain injury and then express them through art. The sessions are inspired by accomplished artists and art therapy volunteers.

The volunteers from MW received an incredible response to the artwork; children were in awe and adults were fascinated with the influences and visions behind the artwork.

The purpose of the exhibition was not only to provide enjoyment through art form for the Brighton Hove community and beyond, but to raise awareness about the many pathways that Headway East Sussex is able to offer people with brain injuries and their families in their road to recovery.

The exhibition was a huge success and the Injury Department at MW were enthused by the support and great work that the charity and the exhibition have achieved. Working with individuals every day in our specialist teams at MW who have suffered brain injury, we understand the importance of expert rehabilitation and support for our clients and their families which is why we work so closely with Headway East Sussex.

If you would like to find out more about the vital work that Headway East Sussex does, please visit: www.headwayeastsussex.org.uk

We Can Help

The MW team is here to provide expert support and guidance in what will be difficult and challenging times and put you in touch with other organisations that can help such as HEADWAY.  Based on our wealth of experience we will  seek to achieve a financial result that makes a real difference to your long-term security.

If you would like to talk to us about your brain injury case call us today on 020 3551 8500 or use our Contact Us page

 

Action for Brain Injury Week

Every 90 seconds somebody in the UK is admitted to hospital with a brain injury. The long term effect of a brain injury can alter how a person walks, thinks, talks and feels and can be devastating for the injured person and their loved ones.

Action for Brain Injury Week


Emma Wilson
Emma Wilson
Solicitor - Health & Injury

Action for Brain Injury Week is an annual week-long awareness raising event that this year takes place between 14th and 20th May. The event is organised by Headway, a leading charity dedicated to promoting and understanding of all aspects of brain injury.

This year, the theme of Action for Brain Injury Week is You, Me and Brain Injury. The aim of the week is to highlight the fact that a brain injury doesn’t just affect the individual, but also their  family, friends, work colleagues, and wider network. It is often the care and support provided by their friends and family that helps a person with a brain injury to adapt to the life-changing effect of their injury.

As lawyers, working with individuals who have suffered a brain injury, the specialist team at McMillan Williams put the injured person and their family at the heart of what we do.  We work hard to ensure they receive the appropriate level of compensation to assist them and their loved ones to rebuild their lives but we also ensure they are provided with the right support and advice throughout the process.

We understand the need to secure early interim payments and private rehabilitation to supplement or take the place of the care already provided by the NHS. We aim to secure funding from the party at fault to put a programme of rehabilitation in place as early as possible. We work closely with Case Managers specialising in brain injury rehabilitation who work with the individual and family to provide a comprehensive package of support.  Our Private Client Team are also able to help by appointing a Deputy if a client lacks the capacity to manage their own affairs.

We have close working relationships with private rehabilitation providers and charities such as Headway Guildford, UKABIF and The Silverlining Charity for our work with brain injury survivors and we strive to ensure our clients are able to regain their confidence and independence as far as possible and reach their optimum level of recovery, with our help and the support of their family and friends.

Hats For Headway - 18th May 2018

On Friday 18th May, the team at MW will once again be taking part in Hats for Headway Day – a fundraising event which takes place during Action for Brain Injury Week. Our team will be sporting our most outrageous, weird and wonderful headgear on social media to help raise money and awareness for the charity.  Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin or through the hashtag #HatsForHeadway.

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered an Acquired Brian Injury.  We will arrange a specialist Brain Injury Case Manager to help plan and implement a rehabilitation package which can incorporate your health, psychological, educational or occupational needs.   We will work with medical, clinical and other experts to value your past and most importantly, future needs, such as personal and medical care, income, accommodation and transport.

Where possible we will secure interim payments to assist with day to day and rehabilitation needs throughout the course of your claim.

If you would like to speak to our team of specialist Personal Injury Solicitors to discuss your case, call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Helen Clifford UK Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year 2018

 

MW Solicitors are proud to announce that our Head of Personal Injury, Helen Clifford, has been named as UK Personal Injury Lawyer of the Year in the Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards 2018

About Helen Clifford


Helen Clifford
Helen Clifford
Partner & Head of Personal Injury

Helen is a partner and Head of the Personal Injury department at MW Solicitors. She qualified at niche practice, Clifford and Co, in 1996 and went on to become senior partner in 2002. In 2012 she joined Leigh Day where she set up and was head of the construction injury team.

Helen joined MW in 2015 as Head of Personal Injury. She practises in the full range of personal injury claims and a large proportion of her work is catastrophic injury cases with a concentration on brain and spinal injuries.
She is a recognised expert and speaker in the field of accidents at work, with a particular interest in the construction industry. She conducts complex and high value claims, including fatal accidents, which have occurred on projects such as Crossrail.

Helen has a reputation for maximising her clients’ claims, is adept in dealing with issues of quantum and liability, for being a skilled and tenacious negotiator and is tactically very able. She is committed to her clients and achieves excellent results whilst providing the support they require throughout the course of their claims, ensuring they have access to appropriate rehabilitation and early interim payments.

Her current caseload includes fatal accident claims, a young paraplegic, accidents abroad and several teenagers with brain injuries. One of the claims is valued in excess of £10m.

In addition to her fee earning role, Helen is an active campaigner for improved health and safety in the workplace, working closely with National campaigning groups such as Families Against Corporate Killers and the London Hazards Center. She is committed to helping to make workplaces safer and to reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by work. She is a trustee of the London Hazards Centre and legal adviser to the Construction Safety Campaign.

Helen’s role includes marketing and business development as well as managing the department. She is an effective manager and mentor.

She is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers and the Health and Safety Lawyers’ Association. She is ranked in the Legal 500.

Recent News

We Can Help

At MW, Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have suffered personal injury.

Our dedicated and expert specialist Personal Injury Solicitors strive to get you the financial support that makes a real difference to your long-term recovery and the security of you and your family.  If you would like to speak to a specialist to discuss your case call us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

My name is Helen Clifford, I am a solicitor & I specialise in acting for the victims of work incidents. I am an elected officer of the Construction Safety Campaign, Trustee of the London Hazards Centre, and legal adviser to Families Against Corporate Killers. My father was a founding member of the Construction Safety Campaign & I am proud to be carrying on his work. Together these organisations fight to make our workplaces safer for each & every one of us.

Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day event
Helen Clifford addresses the International Workers Memorial Day

There has been an enlightened understanding since the time of Cicero that the primary duty of any government is to prevent the premature death of every member of the population it governs without fear or favour. The unavoidable corollary of this understanding is that any government which disregards that primary duty threatens the well-being of less-favoured members of the population it governs.

This enlightened understanding underpinned the 1833 Factory Act to prevent unscrupulous employers from exploiting children.  However, self-employed workers were not protected by the law until the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974 introduced by the Secretary of State for Employment at the time Michael Foot.

The negation of Michael Foot’s legislation gathered pace in January 2012 when prime minister David Cameron pledged to “kill off the health and safety culture for good”. Since then, many UK local authorities have followed the example of unscrupulous contractors and employers, by hiring consultants and lawyers who specialise in exploiting legal loopholes to avoid taking responsibility for the harm they cause.

Some local authority leaders have gone so far as to denigrate critics of this reckless disregard of their primary duty. This was epitomised in the well-known prelude to the Grenfell Tower catastrophe, in the wake of Southwark council’s 2017 guilty plea to four counts of breaking fire safety regulations in Lakanal House, a similar high-rise tower-block fire in 2009 which killed 6 people.

The HSE’s annual figure of 137 deaths at work only covers those reported to the HSE and local authorities. The Hazards Campaign estimates that 1,477 people are killed in work related incidents each year & those dying of work illnesses is 50,000 per year. That is around 140 people dying from work per day or 1 person every 10 mins.  These are truly shocking numbers.

The ITUC says that “Union organisation is the antidote”. A large body of evidence shows that unionised workplaces are happier and safer workplaces. Trade union organisation is linked to up to 50% less injuries & also significantly less ill-health related work. Unions save lives & health, they also save money for employers & the economy.

Yet time & time again we see employers opposing union presence in the workplace, we see those who raise health & safety concerns blacklisted, spied on & prevented from working. Legal claims against major construction companies highlighted these practices but it is still going on & we have seen this for example on Crossrail.

Frank Morris raised health & safety concerns. Had he been listened to rather than sacked, would Rene Tkacik have been killed? Rene was killed on 7 March 2014 on Crossrail when he was crushed to death by 1 ton of shotcrete which fell on him when he was ordered to work in the exclusion zone. The inquest & the HSE prosecution which followed Rene’s death highlighted the obstacles that families face when trying to secure justice. Relevant evidence from a whistleblower, was excluded from both proceedings. Why?

Today, in this country and all over the world, families are remembering their loved ones who died as a result of the negligence of their employers. Families like Rene’s. Families like Mark Seward’s. Mark was killed 27 May 2015 because him employer did not realise that pressure testing was a dangerous activity so had undertaken no risk assessment of the work they told him to do. Families like those of the 1,134 people killed at Rana Plaza on 24 April 2013.

We must use our voices to increase a chorus of disapproval aimed at seeking an end to this era of de-regulation, in which health & safety protections have been undermined & preventative enforcement has been slashed.

In 2018 we are celebrating 40 years of the Safety Committee Regulations & 150 years since the birth of the TUC. Now more than ever we must encourage workers to join unions, to stand together, to raise their voices in order to protect ourselves from preventable work-related death, injury & illness. The aim of International Workers’ Memorial Day is to “remember the dead” & “fight for the living”. We must not stop that fight until there are no more empty boots & every worker returns home safely to their loved ones.

Breast Screening

 

Many women between the ages of 68 and 71 will be waking up to the news that they might be a victim to the NHS computer system which failed to call women for their final breast cancer screening scan.

Screening in the UK starts at the age of 50 and carries on until the age of 71, with scans being undertaken every 3 years to catch any suspicious changes early and to give patients the best chance of a good outcome following a breast cancer diagnosis.  For many the system has not worked and an IT error has resulted in the screening not being carried out as it should have been.

The stories and numbers that are in the press are alarming and it is reported that 450,000 women missed out on the screening between 2009 and this year and of those women, 309,000 are still alive. It is very sad to hear that this means some 41,000 women may have died as a result and gives rise to a serious concern that some of these deaths might have been avoided if screening had taken place.

This is a lot of information and will no doubt be distressing to those who may be affected, someone who thinks that they have missed a screening, a family member who has lost a loved to breast cancer or someone who in the coming days receives an NHS recall letter. 

The NHS have assured the public that they will act quickly and remedy the situation where it is possible to do so.  While we wait for further information to emerge, MW Solicitors encourages those who suspect that they may be affected to use the NHS helpline to seek answers to any queries they may have.

We also encourage patients to seek legal advice as they may be able to seek compensation for any harm that has come to them as a result of a delayed diagnosis.

We Can Help


Nisha Sharma
Nisha Sharma
Partner - Health & Injury

At MW Solicitors, Our Mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone" including those who have been affected by the failure of the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

Nisha Sharma is a specialist Clinical Negligence solicitor with a wealth of experience in this area and has previously acted for many women in breast cancer claims, most notably in the Ian Paterson litigation.  Nisha can travel to see her clients wherever they may be based in the UK.   

If you feel you may be a patient affected by this failure of the Breast Screening Programme, contact us today on 0203 551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk

Coroner's Court

Clare Evans of MW’s specialist inquest team represents the bereaved family of Robin Richards. The lengthy inquest into Robin’s death concluded on 9th March 2015.


Clare Evans
Clare Evans
Solicitor - Civil Litigation

Robin’s death highlights the lack of provision in the community for those diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. The ongoing concern gave rise to the Coroner’s decision on 9th March 2015 to prepare a ‘Report to Prevent Future Deaths’, which will be sent to the Department of Health to respond to.

The Coroner will also send a report to Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust arising out of the concerns highlighted at this inquest.

The jury at Somerset Coroner’s Court found that the following factors contributed to Robin’s death:

  • Communication
  • Training
  • Information-sharing
  • Discharge planning
  • Care planning
  • Risk assessment

Robin died on 3rd July 2015, aged 33, further to hanging himself from a staircase at Highbridge Court in Somerset, on 29th June 2015. Highbridge Court is a private Care Home run by Tracscare (now re-branded ‘Accomplish’), which at the time, advertised itself as a specialised forensic Mental Health service.

Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court on 15th June 2015, followed a prolonged in-patient stay - initially detained under the Mental Health Act before becoming a voluntary in-patient - on a psychiatric ward at Wellsprings Hospital, Taunton.

It is well-documented that the transition from in-patient care to the community is a time of high-risk of suicidality, particularly in the first two weeks after hospital discharge.

In spite of this, when Robin was transferred to Highbridge Court, independent expert evidence confirmed the view Robin’s discharge was not adequately planned for, and staff at Highbridge Court had not been informed by staff of Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, of the potential risk of harm from Robin, to himself.

The incident on 29th June followed a 2 week period in which Robin regularly expressed suicidal thoughts, and had started to act upon his thoughts by harming himself, including walking in front of moving traffic.

The inquest heard evidence of

  • failings in risk assessment and management;
  • Robin’s family being left out of key discussions and meetings around his care, discharge and risk management;
  • Highbridge Court failing to communicate the full breadth of Robin’s self-harming behaviours to the family or the Trust’s Community Mental Health and Crisis teams;
  • lack of training of care home staff regarding Asperger’s and what to do if someone was found hanging

Details of the Preventing Future Deaths Reports to the Department of Health and Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust are eagerly awaited. The family hope that lessons will be learned from Robin’s tragic death, so that others with similar presentations will not have to suffer the same fate.

This inquest is timely given the recent Guardian article which reveals fundamental shortcomings in mental health care provision, which puts lives at risk. For example, failures in training, flawed processes and errors in judgement (link to article below).

Further, it is understood there are ongoing concerns in relation to other Tracscare Homes in England and Wales, linking into the broader national concern as to the increasing use of private care homes for the purpose of mental health care provision. It is of note that under the Human Rights Act, private care homes can be ‘public authorities’ and, therefore, obliged to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.

We Can Help

At MW Our Mission is "to make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have lost loved ones whilst in care.  Our experienced and expert Lawyers will represent you at every step of the way.  From Inquest to prosecution and if applicable, in a claim for compensation.  We will be on hand to ensure that you get the access to Justice that you deserve.

If you or your family have suffered an accident at work and would like to speak to one of our expert injury solicitors, call us today on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk.

Media Coverage

doctor

Sarah Corbett of MW Solicitors Clinical Negligence team acted for a woman who has been awarded damages of £5.8 million after St George’s Hospital in Tooting failed to make a timely diagnosis of meningitis. 

Events Surrounding the Claim

Our client, who was pregnant at the time, attended St George’s hospital in Tooting in January 2011 as she was feeling unwell.  She was admitted to the maternity unit but despite clear symptoms of meningitis, including the classic rash the hospital failed to diagnose meningitis in good time.  As a result of the delay in diagnosis she developed severe sepsis causing gangrene.  Her unborn son was stillborn, her legs were amputated below the knee, she had partial amputations of 3 of her fingers, sustained partial hearing loss and had to come to terms with what had happened to her. 

Sarah Corbett, Partner and Clinical Negligence Lawyer in our Guildford office said of the settlement:

“Meningitis can affect anyone and is very serious if not treated quickly.  I am delighted to achieve this £5.8 million settlement for my client but hope that the NHS learns from this error.  It is unacceptable that the hospital failed to diagnose such a well known condition when the classic signs were exhibited.  Had she been treated in time she would not have lost her unborn son, her lower legs, parts of 3 of her fingers or suffered partial hearing loss.  No amount of money can compensate for what my client has gone through but the compensation will be used to provide her with the equipment, care and assistance she needs for the rest of her life as a result of her injuries.” 

We Can Help

At MW, our mission is "To make quality legal services accessible to everyone", including those who have been let down by the medical profession or have suffered clinical negligence.  Our team of dedicated and experienced Medical Negligence Solicitors offer a free initial assessment and can discuss your case to see if you might have a valid claim.

Our dedicated professionals can help you progress your claim and help you get the support you need.  If you think that you have a claim for Medical Negligence and need a Clinical Negligence Lawyer, don't delay, call us on 020 3551 8500 or email us at enquiries@mwsolicitors.co.uk 

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