Having just completed a review of my firm’s practice, coinciding with the end of financial year, an interesting observation – though perhaps predictable, is the types of claim which have grown in frequency.
Traditionally, for the last 10 + years, the most common types of claim I have acted in, relate to gynaecology and uro-gynaecology. The single most common type of claim (by some margin) being complications associated with hysterectomy.
Interestingly, upon an informal audit, it is clear that for the first time these areas of medicine have become overshadowed by 2 emerging areas of practice.
The 2 most common areas of medicine in which the firm has recieved instructions in the last 12 months are:
1) bariatric surgery;
2) cosmetic breast surgery.
Interestingly, the bariatric surgery claims do not relate only to lap band surgery (though it is prevalent). Similarly the breast surgery claims are not simply augmentation/implant surgery, but also include reductions etc.
One obvious common feature of the new leading areas of claim are that they both relate to what are often elective procedures. They are also areas in which some ‘entrepreneurial’ medical practitioners are engaging in aggressive marketing to stimulate demand for their services. As I may have commented previously, it will be interesting to see whether a different approach develops on the part of the Courts, when evaluating medical practice in these more nakedly ‘profit driven’ areas.
Certainly in my view (predictably you will say!), there is no good reason for doctors choosing to predominantly operate in such fields to receive any more protection/credit than other business’ in the ‘beauty’ industry. I anticipate (or hope) that stringent standards concerning disclosure of risks/side-effects will develop.
Stay tuned and we will see..