Shoosmiths’ Serious Injury welcomes the introduction of “Martha’s Rule”

20 September 2023

Clinical negligence specialists at Shoosmiths SI have welcomed the introduction of a new rule that will give hospital patients the right to a second opinion.

It was reported this month that the health secretary is backing the introduction of "Martha's Rule", which will ensure those being treated in hospital know they have the right to a second opinion, and NHS England will begin work to action it.

Martha’s Rule follows the treatment of Martha Mills who was admitted to hospital aged 13 after falling off her bike.

An injury to Martha’s pancreas was serious but survivable, but within days Martha had died of a life-threatening condition, sepsis.

Martha’s mother Merope Mills told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that doctors had told her the extensive bleeding was "a normal side effect of the infection, and that her clotting abilities were slightly off".  Martha was displaying signs of sepsis; however, the concerns of her family were dismissed, and her condition deteriorated resulting in her tragic death.

An inquest later said that Martha could have survived had her care been better.

Sharon Banga, principal associate Shoosmiths’s SI said: “It is hoped that Martha’s rule will provide patients and their families / carers with a voice when it comes to treatment decisions and will serve to enhance patient safety and improve patient outcomes.

“For some patients a second opinion can provide reassurance or can provide the opportunity to challenge the treatment decisions that are being made in situations where this may be critically needed.

“There have been far too many occasions when  medical experts in our client’s medical negligence claims have highlighted that an urgent second medical opinion or intervention could have led to an improved outcome.  This new legal right could avoid serious injuries and with it, disability on occasion and could also save lives.”



This information is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. It is recommended that specific professional advice is sought before acting on any of the information given. © Shoosmiths LLP 2024

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