A father who sadly lost his daughter to meningitis last month after being wrongly diagnosed has spoken out about his fears for families who may be in a similar situation, but without the help of legal aid.
In 2006, Kate Pierce of Wrexham was just nine months old when she developed pneumococcal meningitis, which was wrongly diagnosed by medical professionals.
A junior doctor at Wrexham Maelor Hospital assured Kate’s parents that she was suffering from viral tonsillitis and was told that Kate was well enough to return home.
Kate’s health soon deteriorated and returned to the hospital for a second time when she was correctly diagnosed with meningitis.
Her condition deteriorated further as she suffered from severe brain damage along with other health complications, meaning she needed 24hour care.
Kate lost her battle last month and died while on a family holiday in Florida.
Mark Pierce, father of Kate Pierce fears for families who rely on legal aid to help support victims of medical negligence. He believes that Kate would not have qualified for the legal aid today.
It is reported that the UK government is to reduce the approximate £2bn legal aid bill, making some medical negligence claims no longer eligible.
Mr Pierce believes that he could not have fought Kate’s case without the legal aid and fears for families who are now in the same position as the Pierce family.
The Ministry of Justice have released a statement arguing that many medical negligence cases ‘do not need legal aid.’
A spokesperson continued by saying that currently ‘90% of medical negligence cases are heard without legal aid as they are suitable for a “no win no fee” deal’.
The Ministry of Justice has revealed that they will ensure legal aid remains for victims who have suffered from medical negligence during pregnancy or incidents shortly after birth, where babies have become severely disabled who need care for life.
Mr Pierce is still concerned for families after the change which occurred on 1st April.
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