Medicolegal services involve both medical and legal aspects, including a branch of medicine called medical jurisprudence and the branch of law which covers medicine. Medicolegal work consists of reports or examinations compiled in the context of potential or actual civil litigation. It excludes any fee-paying work or services.
People are likely to seek medicolegal advice after a non-fault accident or in cases of suspected medical negligence. Many different case types require many different medicolegal services. Independent medical experts are required in criminal and personal injury cases to provide medical reports, explain clinical intricacies and deliver testimony.
Professor Ali Ghoz is a leading orthopaedic surgeon who offers medicolegal services. As a single joint expert, he is available for criminal and personal injury cases. Professor Ghoz’s range of expertise includes minimally invasive surgery, soft tissue hip disorders and knee arthroscopy. He provides medical reports for legal cases and can explain the medical intricacies of physical trauma.
Complication risk factors caused by surgery can be unpredictable and unforeseen complications can lead to patients incorrectly suing for negligence. One such case involved a postman who underwent bilateral total hip replacement surgery. The patient sought advice after suffering from brachial plexus palsy; he and his expert believed this was caused by faulty positioning on the operating table.
Independent experts (including an anaesthetist, neurologist and orthopaedic surgeon) called as witnesses in the case concurred that the operation had followed correct procedure. There was evidence that the patient had suffered a stroke; an unpredictable and unavoidable outcome not caused by clinical negligence.
Medicolegal consultants recommend that patient medical records include details about the decisions made by care givers as well as a patients’ clinical care. Generally, if medical records are comprehensive enough to provide continuity of care, they are also sufficient for legal use.