Central Pain Syndrome discussed

Posts Tagged ‘compensation award’

Central Pain Syndrome discussed

Posted on: April 11th, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

Central Pain Syndrome also known as Thalamic Pain Syndrome/Dejerine-Roussy Syndrome

We recently acted for a client suffering from a Central Pain Syndrome.

In 1906 two French neurologists, Dejerine and Roussy, found that strokes could give rise to pain. A lesion suffered on one side of the thalamus following stroke might cause pain on the opposite side of the body.

Recently, we acted for a client (“X”) who had suffered a severe traumatic brain injury.

One of our experts noted X’s significant physical symptoms. X showed signs of being in pain on one side of his body from stimuli that would not normally cause pain e.g. just resting a foot on a wheelchair footplate.

Review of X’s CT scan revealed contusion within the left thalamic brain region causing the expert to indicate that X’s symptoms were in keeping with Dejerine-Roussy Syndrome. Further evidence from a specialist neurologist was arranged.

Central Pain Syndrome

It is now understood that damage to the Central Nervous System (“CNS”) and not just to the thalamus can cause pain and loss of sensation in various parts of the body. CPS can develop following brain tumours, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis (“MS”) or other conditions affecting the CNS.

Use of the term Central Pain Syndrome (“CPS”) reflects the fact that damage to various area of the CNS can cause pain and stroke need not be the primary cause.

Where stroke is the primary cause the preferred term now used is Central Post Stroke Pain.

The level of pain caused by CPS varies from one person to another. Some individuals experience pain which is mild and periodic, others may have terrible, unremitting pain which drastically affects their lives and may consequently devastate relationships.

If you, or a loved one, have developed a Central Pain Syndrome following an accident and you would like to discuss it with a serious injury expert please call us on 01285 654875.

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Medical Negligence

Posted on: April 4th, 2016 by Isobel Addison No Comments

The long road to finding an alternative to litigation

The Scottish Government has appointed a review group to end what they term as the ‘blame culture’ inherent in medical negligence claims and create a ‘person-centred’ healthcare system.

The government says that litigation is expensive and time-consuming. It causes patients worry and stress. They claim that such claims distract doctors and nurses from doing their jobs.

They propose that a patient will only be compensated if they suffered harm lasting at least six months, causally connected to the avoidable harm.

In 2009 the Scottish Government established the No Fault Compensation Review Group. The group reported in 2011 and recommended a no-fault scheme for medical injury.

This was followed by a public consultation; but no legislation.

Now the government has published a consultation for a no-blame as opposed to a no-fault redress scheme.

If a patient suffers harm from clinical treatment in Scotland, they may raise a medical negligence action in the Scottish courts. They are required to prove that no ordinarily competent professional, acting reasonably, would have acted as their doctor did. They must also establish that those actions caused them some harm. So how does the proposed scheme differ?

Compensation would be founded on the concept of ‘avoidability’: could the harm have been avoided by the use of reasonable care? Expert evidence may still be needed to establish what constitutes avoidable harm or reasonable care.

The suggestion is that any compensation awarded will be based on the same guidelines and past decisions as at present. The assessment will mirror existing court actions, albeit with a cap of £100,000. Claimants may be worse off. Under the current Scottish system courts must disregard NHS care when assessing compensation. The consultation suggests replacing this with a guaranteed package of treatment and care from the NHS and local authorities.
Crucially, the right to litigate remains. Those who feel under-compensated can pursue a court action to ‘top up’ their damages although patients will be prevented from using their no-blame award to fund a litigated claim. How this will work in practice is unclear.

Litigation will not be avoided. It is likely that satellite litigation will arise on the application of the scheme in particular on the meaning of avoidability, on causation and on quantum. Significant expert evidence may still be needed and although the cost of litigation should be reduced it is unlikely to be by much.

The patient succeeds only if they prove they suffered harm which could have been avoided by the use of reasonable care so the scheme does not truly avoid blame. There is also the potential that acknowledging avoidable harm will encourage patients to seek out other forms of complaint.

All those involved in medical negligence claims welcome steps to reduce protracted litigation and unnecessary expense. However, it is far from clear that this proposal would accomplish that.

Responses to the consultation are due by 24 June 2016.