The UK government has announced its commitment to implementing “Martha’s rule” in England, with the aim of making it easier for patients and their families to seek a second medical opinion when they feel their concerns are not being taken seriously by medical professionals. The rule is named after Martha Mills, a 13-year-old girl who tragically lost her life after hospital doctors failed to admit her to intensive care while she was suffering from sepsis.
Martha had sustained a pancreatic injury after falling from her bike during a family holiday in Wales. She was under the care of King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in south London when she developed sepsis. A coroner’s ruling stated that Martha would likely have survived if doctors had recognized the warning signs and transferred her to intensive care.
Martha’s parents, Merope Mills and Paul Laity, had repeatedly expressed concerns about their daughter’s deteriorating health to medical staff, but these concerns were not acted upon. In response to this devastating outcome, Martha’s mother, who works as an editor at the Guardian, launched a campaign to improve the rights of patients and their families in seeking a second medical opinion.
The introduction of “Martha’s rule” in England follows a similar measure implemented in Queensland, Australia, which has been proven to save lives. The government’s commitment to improving patient care reflects its recognition of the importance of addressing and rectifying instances where concerns are dismissed or disregarded.
By implementing this rule, the government aims to empower patients and their families, providing them with the reassurance that their voices will be heard and their concerns will be taken seriously. Through facilitating easier access to a second opinion, patients and their families can have greater confidence in their medical care and the decisions made about their health.
This commitment from the UK government is a positive step towards improving patient safety and preventing tragedies such as Martha’s from happening in the future. Further details regarding the implementation of “Martha’s rule” in England will be released soon.