Medical manslaughter investigations under the spotlight

Posted On: 
21st April 2017

Doctors undergoing a medical manslaughter investigation can be under scrutiny for many months, if not years, a senior Medical Defence Union solicitor will explain at a Royal Society of Medicine event today.

Speaking at the Patient safety, litigation against doctors and gross negligence event, taking place in London, Ian Barker, a senior MDU solicitor, will explain that early legal advice can be crucial for the increasing number of doctors being investigated by the police. Ian said:

“Medical manslaughter investigations while thankfully rare, have been increasing. The case of Dr David Sellu, who was recently cleared for gross negligence manslaughter, but not before serving time in prison, illustrates that the stakes are high for doctors involved in this kind of investigation.

“While the majority of healthcare professionals investigated for manslaughter won’t face a prosecution and even fewer are convicted, the process can be very stressful for all involved. Most investigations take around six months, but in some cases defended by the MDU, it has taken more than three years. The criminal investigation may just be the start as there are a myriad of further investigations that can take place including an inquest, GMC investigation, disciplinary procedure and complaint, and of course these will often be reported in the media.

“The importance of getting expert legal advice early on if you think you may be involved in a criminal investigation can’t be understated. Ensuring an accurate account from the outset can be crucial and an experienced solicitor can help with this.

“The MDU’s in-house legal team has four solicitors experienced in criminal cases. With 65 years of experience between us, we can ensure that MDU members involved in such a stressful situation, get the best possible legal representation from the outset.”