Medical Negligence Claims against Dr Watt and Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT)
Dr Watt was a Consultant Neurologist attached to the Royal Victoria Hospital. He worked in the National Health Service, employed by the Belfast Trust and he also had an extensive private practice.
In the latter practice, he saw clients mainly at the Ulster Independent Clinic. Concerns were raised about the standard of care being provided by Dr Watt and this has led to a number of investigations. He is under investigation by the GMC. There has been an internal investigation by Belfast Trust.
Many of his patients’ case histories have been reviewed by the Royal College of Surgeons. There has been an internal investigation by the Department of Health and there is now an ongoing public inquiry under the chairmanship of Brett Lockhart QC.
In general, Neurologists treat diseases which affect the central and peripheral nervous systems.
A wide range of different diseases have been identified as neurological disorders. In relation to the cases referred to, we have identified the most common areas where Dr Watt’s diagnosis has been flawed. These include;
- thewrongful diagnosis of epilepsy;
- the wrongful diagnosis of a stroke (andafterwards, in many instances, post-stroke epilepsy);
- the wrongful diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease;
- the wrongful diagnosis of MS;
- the wrongful diagnosis of spontaneousintercranial hypotension which in turn has led to a totally unnecessary andinvasive procedure known as an epidural blood patch (blood taken from thepatient is injected into the patient’s spine).
How we can help
Many of the patients who have gone through the recall process (and indeed many who have not) will want to consider whether or not they are entitled to make a claim for compensation for medical negligence. It is important to remember that the success or otherwise of a medical negligence claim will not hinge upon, or indeed in many cases be influenced by, the outcome of the various investigations being carried out (listed above).
It is very likely that those investigations will reveal a flawed process, particularly of accountability within the Trust, but in cases of medical negligence, each case will be looked at on its individual merits. To be successful a patient will have to establish firstly that the medical care he / she has received from Dr Watt (either as a private patient or as an NHS patient) has fallen below an acceptable standard of care. Secondly, that patient will then also have to show that as a result of this substandard care, the patient has suffered in some way.
At O’Hare Solicitors, we have identified a number of experts who have already reported positively and many of our cases are well advanced at this stage. We are well placed to advise any patients who have not yet sought legal advice or those patients who will be contacted when the next recall process commences.
Proceedings have to be commenced within three years so anyone involved in the April 2018 Recall Process needs to be taking action now to avoid his/her case becoming statute barred. Anyone who has been treated by Dr Watt privately or who has not been involved in the 2018 Recall process and who has concerns about their treatment should also be seeking immediate legal advice.
O’Hare Solicitors have a strong record in the promotion of medical negligence cases generally, having handled, over the years, many cases involving negligence in many different medical fields including the neurological field. To date we have advised / are advising in excess of 75 patients who have sought advice in relation to their care under Dr Watt, either in a private capacity or in his capacity as an employee of Belfast Trust.
Read about Dr Watt recall patient horrified as medic reviewing scandal faces probe in the irishnews.com where Niall O’Hare, said that while the outcome of the GMC probe must be awaited, he was concerned that allegations made against Dr El-Naggar are “strikingly similar to those levied against Dr Michael Watt”.