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Medical examinations in Covid-19 – Guidance on remote medical examinations.

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

If you are pursing a medical negligence claim, it is likely that at some stage in the proceedings you will need to be examined by an expert to ascertain what injury any negligence has caused you. Usually, this would involve a visit to an experts consulting rooms and a face to face examination.

As a result of Coronavirus pandemic and the strict restrictions placed on face to face activities and the requirements of social distancing, medical examinations for the purposes of litigation have been largely halted but claims are still progressing.

MedCo  (the system used to instruct medical experts in road traffic accidents) have suspended their ban on remote examinations and produced guidance on conducting remote examination. While MedCo is not used in clinical negligence claims, their guidance for remote examinations is helpful and can be applied to remote medical examinations in clinical negligence claims.

Guidance (last published 3 July 2020)  suggests that face to face examinations can go ahead providing that the claimant has been contacted about the risks of attending a face to face examination and it can be conducted adhering to Government guidance on social distancing and appropriate PPE is worn by both parties,

However, no Claimant should be coerced into attending an examination if they do not want to. Remote examinations are proving a very useful way to continue to progress medical negligence claims.

Medical experts should include confirmation in their reports that the examination was not done in person and explain why. Medical reports produced following a remote examination may be subject to greater challenge by Defendant and therefore the expert should acknowledge any limitations (or not) to their advice as a result of the method of examination.

It may be that reports need to be updated with face to face examinations when restrictions are eased but anecdotally the clients and experts that we have engaged in remote examinations have found the process positive.

Claimants in clinical (or medical) negligence claims have a time limit of three years to bring their claim and this time limit will not be extended by the pandemic. The time limit will run from the date of the negligence, or the date you had knowledge of the negligence. If you think you have a medical negligence claim, there is no need to delay in seeking professional advice from a specialist solicitor.

 

Marianne Stapleton

Posted:

Marianne Stapleton

Solicitor

Marianne is a Solicitor within the Medical Negligence Team. The Team handles a wide range of Medical Negligence cases against NHS Hospital Trusts, General and Private Practitioners. Marianne advises on a variety of Medical Negligence claims, to include representing clients on matters arising from surgical…