Written by

Sinead Connolly - Solicitor

My Background 

My mum was a nurse before she retired – a brilliant nurse – and I was fortunate enough to see her work. When I was 15, she got me my first job as a cleaner where she worked, and so I saw her day to day. She was great with the patients. She cared for them and cared about them. She laughed at their jokes, listened to their stories, held their hand when they reached for hers. And when they were confused, she answered to the name they called her; even when it was not her own.  

My sister has followed in her footsteps, and whilst I have never seen her at work, I know she will be the same kind of nurse. She worked through the Covid-19 pandemic, in busy wards, amongst a shortage of staff and an unprecedented overload of patients. All the while, in hot uncomfortable PPE and dealing with the fear of bringing Covid-19 home to her young family but she did it day in, day out, because she cared. 

Nurses do an amazing job, and I am very proud of both my mum and my sister, as well as all nurses and doctors who have chosen that job as their calling. I think we are incredibly lucky to have the NHS, and the doctors and nurses who help us when we need them. 


The impact of medical negligence and the importance of making a claim 

I am also proud to be a Medical Negligence Solicitor, I am all too aware of the stigma of making a claim against the NHS. I also understand the reluctance of some of our clients to do so, and the hesitancy to make a complaint about the nurses and doctors.  However, it is often the case in medical negligence claims, that the negligence is often not because of any one person making a mistake but because of system failures, poor training, or high patient numbers, to name but a few.  

I empathise completely with the clients who come to us for help; when the worst that could happen in their lives has happened, and they need us to support and guide them. Whether that is to get them answers to questions on what went wrong, hope for them that it will not happen to anyone else, which is often what my clients would like to see, or compensation. 

The purpose of compensation in medical negligence law is to put our client back into the position they would have been in had the negligence not occurred.  When considering an offer of settlement in a claim, we need to consider whether the amount of damages offered by the defendant sufficiently compensates our client for their injuries and losses.  

For medical negligence clients, settlement monies often cannot compensate for what they have lost. The damage has so often already been done but it does go some way to ease the financial burden of everyday life and takes away one less thing to worry about when they are trying to come to terms with that loss and heal. 

Whether it is the parent who has lost a child as a result of a mistake in their care, and compensation they receive helps them to give up work for a while and spend time with their other children whilst they grieve. A mother, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and has been told that if she had been referred earlier, she would have recovered; compensation may help with day to day care  for her children when she is gone, or indeed, the young man who was not able to work due to a failure in treating a wrist fracture, compensation can help him clear the debt he fell into. 

Why I am a Medical Negligence Solicitor 

I cannot begin to imagine the pain, both physical and emotional, that some of our clients’ experience. As a Medical Negligence Solicitor, when we can get them answers to questions on what went wrong, hope that lessons have been learned or secure the compensation which allows them to stop worrying about money, and focus on getting better, I feel very proud.  

It is right that our clients can achieve all these things when something goes wrong and their life has changed, through no fault of their own. 

As a Medical Negligence Solicitor, I think we can feel both pride in the nurses and doctors, and the system which has helped so many of us but also pride in the work we do helping our clients. I know, I certainly do. 

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