In 2015, Balfour+Manson was instrumental in changing the law on consent in the UK. Since that time, there has been increased awareness of a patient’s right to be actively involved in decision-making in their care.
Balfour+Manson continue to act for patients who have not been properly informed of the risks of procedures or informed of alternative treatments. Balfour+Manson are instructed in a range of cases, including neurosurgery, urology, obstetrics and cancer treatment.
We will take full details of what happened, where it took place, and when. We will then obtain your medical records and instruct an appropriately qualified medical expert. This expert will then review the medical records and prepare a report addressing the test for medical negligence. We have an excellent working relationship with medical professionals in a wide variety of disciplines to assist us.
There are legal rules about the timescale for making a legal claim. In terms of Scots law, the clock starts running from the date of the negligence taking place. If you are aged over 16 at the time of negligence, you have three years to raise a claim in court. The courts apply these time limits strictly but will make exceptions in some cases.
We offer a range of funding options, including Legal Aid in certain circumstances, which we can discuss with you.
The case of Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board focused on the management of the delivery of Ms Montgomery’s baby, Sam. Ms Montgomery was of small stature and had diabetes. It is well known that women suffering from diabetes during pregnancy are likely to have larger babies. Ms Montgomery was told that Sam would be large but was not warned of the risk of shoulder dystocia (where a baby’s shoulders are too wide to pass through the birth canal). The risk was in the order of 9-10% of diabetic mothers. Ms Montgomery had mentioned at numerous appointments with her obstetrician that she was concerned about Sam’s size. During the course of Sam’s delivery, his shoulder became stuck and his umbilical cord was compressed. He was subsequently diagnosed with cerebral palsy, caused by deprivation of oxygen.
The Supreme Court decided that doctors have a duty of reasonable care to ensure that their patients are aware of material risks involved in any recommended treatment and also make patients aware of reasonable alternative or variant treatments. This test therefore focuses on the particular circumstances and wishes of a patient. In relation to Ms Montgomery, the Supreme Court found that the risk of shoulder dystocia was a material risk which should have been disclosed to her and that Ms Montgomery should have been advised that a caesarean section was a possible alternative to avoid that risk.