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Queen Elizabeth Hospital Facing Negligence Claim

Thirteen wounded soldiers have sued The Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham where they claim to have received second rate care.

When soldiers sign up to risk their life and limb for queen and country, it isn’t unreasonable for them to expect a reasonable level of health care when they are injured or wounded. However, newly revealed figures show that troops that have been wounded and subsequently repatriated from the Afghanistan and Iraq frontlines are suing a military hospital for medical negligence.

An expert has said that soldiers receive better treatment on the battlefield than they do after returning home. During the last 3 years, thirteen soldiers have submitted compensation claims against the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth hospital.

The centre which provides care for soldiers has previously won many awards for the work they do. But the information which has been released under the Freedom of Information Act has revealed that several soldiers are taking legal action after they claim to have received inferior care. Experts have said that there is an enormous gulf between the excellent care which soldiers get on the frontline and the subsequent care they get after being repatriated to Britain.

Philippa Tuckman, a clinical negligence specialist has commented that as far as the hospital in Birmingham is concerned, a gap exists between emergency care and what follows. The critical care provided is usually excellent and the emergency treatment provided on the battlefield is a first class example and has been taken up across the world. But they aren’t as good at the less dramatic aftercare which is really equally as important.

Many of the GPs are newly qualified and do not have the necessary experience in dealing with all the injuries that are presented. Soldiers have said that they had assumed that the best care possible would be available to them and they are amazed when it isn’t. The hospital trust concerned refused to comment on the matter.

As well as the mistreated or misdiagnosed physical injuries, Ms Tuckman believes that the dreadful impact of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is being ignored, with patients still being sent back to the battlefield. A large part of the deal for servicemen is going into war zones such as Afghanistan, having awful experiences and seeing horrors.

In many ways PTSD isn’t surprising, however, there are controls in place to take care of service personnel and ensure that they aren’t sent back whilst still vulnerable. There are several cases that I am aware of where that just hasn’t happened.

It may lead to drinking and depression and can snowball, become serious or even out of control when soldiers do tour after tour whilst suffering from psychiatric conditions
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The system for dealing with these problems needs to be addressed, particularly for those who are medically discharged with PTSD.

The MOD would not discuss any details of the claims but their spokesperson did point out that a fund is available to any serviceman who is injured on duty.

Scott Garthley, a wounded ex-soldier fought a compensation battle with the MOD for almost £3m after claiming that he had received negligent treatment and had to pay £60K private medical bills to get the care he couldn’t get from the MOD. He had also been told to remove his uniform in hospital to avoid it offending patients of ethnic minorities.