Medical negligence in Ireland is in the news a lot today. With cutbacks, inefficiencies, overcrowding and underfunding in the HSE, medical negligence is happening more and more. 

It is not unusual to hear on the radio or read online about medical negligence cases and their devastating effect on families in Ireland. 

The Irish Healthcare System is under massive pressure,  due to an increase in population and record numbers of patients.

In addition to this there has been a  44% increase in Irish Doctors emigrating abroad. Frontline Staff are reporting burnout and waiting lists for surgical operations remain at an all time high.

Our Irish Health Care Workers relentlessly care for patients in providing physical and psychological health services across Ireland to provide the best level of care possible. 

In Public and Private hospitals, Medical Staff have a duty to protect your health. Serious errors can occur in medical treatment which can lead to clinical negligence or medical negligence.

If you or a loved one suffers an injury, misdiagnosis, delays in treatment or a missed diagnosis at the hands of a medical professional, it may seriously affect your health. To discover that you received substandard care that has led to a delay in your recovery, or caused irreversible injury to you, can be difficult and will only add insult to injury. Particularly so when hospital or medical professionals can robustly defend these cases.

In times like this, you will need the experience and understanding of an experienced medical negligence Solicitor to guide you through what could be a complex legal process to face alone.

PBN solicitors have that experience and understanding to be with you every step along the way of a medical negligence compensation claim*.

What is medical negligence?

A medical negligence case can arise when you receive medical treatment that is below the ordinary standard of care that you should receive from a  medical professional and you have suffered as a direct  result of the treatment. 

When you are a patient of a GP, hospital consultant, surgeon, paramedic, or any other medical professional, they owe you a duty of care. When they breach that duty of care, such as a misdiagnosis of a medical condition or causing you further injury, a medical negligence case can arise.

Medical negligence is a preventable error by a medical professional or institution, and you may have a medical negligence claim* for compensation if it happens to you.

Start your medical negligence case today by contacting PBN solicitors.

Areas of medical negligence law we cover

The areas of medical negligence law in Ireland range from injury by a GP to errors by a surgeon and any lack of due care in your medical treatment. 

If you suffer because of errors by a medical professional that has led to a delay in your recovery or caused further injury to you, you may be entitled to seek compensation. 

Areas of medical negligence law:

  • Brain Injury Cases
  • Birth Injuries
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Cancer Mis-Diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Plastic Surgery Complications
  • Dental Negligence
  • Pharmacy Negligence
  • Prescription Error claim*
  • Mirena Coil claims*
  • Vasectomy Claims*
  • Testicular Torsion Claims*

A Medical Professional can be responsible for the injury in any area of medical negligence law.  Common areas of medical negligence cases are:

Medical negligence by a GP

Medical negligence by a GP can often happen as the GP is the first medical professional you may meet when you are ill or injured. 

The duty of the GP is to assess your injury or illness and decide on the correct course of treatment. Actions by a GP may be crucial in dealing with your illness or injury. Mistakes can be made by the GP which can result in an injury.

The GP may be responsible for medical negligence if they:

  • Fail to refer you to a consultant
  • Misdiagnose your health issue
  • Fail to diagnose your health issue
  • Fail to refer you for further tests
  • Fail to follow up on the results of tests
  • Make an error in your prescription

There is a duty of care on your GP to explain any side-effects or risks you are exposed to by not undergoing a medical treatment, test, procedure, or prescribed medication.

It can also be considered medically negligent if the GP does not explain the clinical risks associated with the procedure or treatment you have consented to which then results in damage or injury.

There are many areas of medical negligence by a GP, and your medical negligence solicitor can help you identify what happened in your treatment.

Medical negligence by a hospital consultant

Medical negligence by a hospital consultant may happen at the early stages of an illness or injury and may affect your treatment path long into the future. 

You are referred to a hospital consultant for expert treatment, but medical negligence could cause many problems. Many newborn babies suffer medical negligence before, after, or during birth with life-changing consequences. 

A hospital consultant may be responsible for medical negligence if they:

  • Misdiagnose your health issue
  • Fail to diagnose your health issue
  • Cause a birth injury due to errors made during delivery
  • Put you on the wrong course of treatment
  • Make an error in your prescription
  • Fail to read your test results or read them correctly
  • Fail to refer you for further tests or surgery
  • Cause a birth injury due to the failure to deliver a baby on time
  • Injure you when treating your health issue

The hospital consultant has a duty of care to patients; a breach of that duty of care may be medical negligence.

Medical negligence by a surgeon

Medical negligence by a surgeon may cause surgery to go wrong and make your health issues or injuries worse than necessary. 

A surgeon often needs to perform lifesaving surgery, and medical negligence in these cases can be fatal. Errors in day-to-day surgical procedures can also have severe consequences and directly affect your recovery. 

Medical negligence by a surgeon can be:

  • Surgery on the wrong patient
  • Removal of the wrong limb, foot, hand, or digit
  • Unnecessary surgery
  • A failure to inform a patient about what the surgery involves
  • Wrong area surgery
  • Performing open surgery when keyhole s an option
  • Damage to internal organs during surgery
  • Nicking a nerve during surgery
  • Unnecessary scarring from the surgery

A surgeon can make many errors, and if you suffer ill health as a result, you may have a medical negligence claim* for compensation.

Medical negligence by a paramedic

Medical negligence by a paramedic can happen during an emergency or even in the routine treatment a patient needs when receiving care in an ambulance. 

The paramedic may be the first medical professional at the scene of an accident, and their diagnosis can decide how a patient is treated at the hospital. Errors by a paramedic can cost time and cause delays in starting valuable treatment. 

Medical negligence by a paramedic can be:

  • Misdiagnosis of a medical emergency
  • Incorrect treatment
  • Failure to provide treatment
  • Damage to patient when giving medical treatment
  • Failure to get the patient’s medical history
  • Making errors when reporting to the A&E team at handover
  • Not diagnosing a stroke or heart attack by using protocols

The paramedic must make decisions according to their training and experience. To make errors with a patient can be medical negligence by a paramedic.

Medical negligence by a nurse

Medical negligence by a nurse can happen in a hospital, private clinic, or GP clinic. Errors by a nurse can affect how the doctor or medical professional diagnoses or treats your illness or injury. 

A nurse must ensure patient safety and treatment are a priority, and medical negligence by a nurse can seriously affect an ill patient. 

Medical negligence by a nurse can be:

  • Errors when dressing a wound or injury
  • Injuring a patient in their care
  • Errors when administering medication
  • Failure to check medication before giving it to a patient
  • Failure to follow hygiene protocols
  • Failure to take a full patient history
  • Failure to respond correctly to a medical issue with a patient

Any medical negligence can seriously affect a patient, and the nurse must take every step to provide acceptable medical care to patients. 

Medical negligence by the HSE

Medical negligence by the HSE receives a lot of coverage in Ireland. The HSE is responsible for patient care from their birth in hospital to any continuing medical treatment during their lifetime. 

The HSE is responsible for public health and treating patients in public hospitals and clinics throughout Ireland. A breach of the HSE’s duty of care to patients may affect them for life. 

Medical negligence by the HSE can be:

  • Infection from poor hygiene standards in hospitals
  • Failure to employ adequately trained medical professionals
  • Unnecessary delays in medical care
  • Failure to introduce correct medical treatment protocols
  • Medication errors
  • Failure to follow the patient-to-nurse staffing ratios
  • Errors in the diagnosis of children at HSE clinics
  • Injury caused to newborn babies before, during and after their birth

The HSE has many responsibilities. When an HSE error causes injury or unnecessary suffering to you or a loved one, you may have a claim* for medical negligence. 

Medical negligence can take many forms, and there are areas within each type of medical negligence that can have severe effects on a patient. 

Your medical negligence solicitor will help you navigate the legal system and try to get a resolution to suit your needs.

Start your medical negligence case today by contacting PBN solicitors.

A solicitor’s role in a medical negligence case

A solicitor’s role in a medical negligence case can be vital to a successful conclusion for the patient involved. The solicitor is used to and trained for litigation and can be a powerful advocate when needed.

Medical negligence will have emotional and financial effects on the patient today and in the future, and a solicitor can help figure out what these effects are worth. 

Medical costs soon add up when you suffer an accident or illness. The costs of medical care in Ireland are high, and you may also need to adapt your home and car. 

Children affected by medical negligence may need care and constant medical treatment for the rest of their lives. Parents need peace of mind that their child will be well looked after throughout their lives. 

The experience and expertise of a solicitor comes into their role in a medical negligence case. Knowing how compensation works in medical negligence, how to identify and claim* against those responsible, and navigating through complex litigation are all part of the solicitor’s role when handling your medical negligence case.

Compensation for Medical Negligence in Ireland

Compensation for medical negligence in Ireland can range from the low €1,000s for minor injuries to the high millions of euros for the serious, life-changing types of medical negligence. 

In any medical negligence case, you claim* for two types of damages:

General damages are the claim* you make for compensation for the pain and suffering you experience because of the medical negligence. 

In medical negligence cases, you can claim* General Damages for the pain from a poorly carried out surgery or the unnecessary suffering from the misdiagnosis of your cancer. 

General Damages are also claimed* for problems with playing sports, exercising, walking, or driving due to injury caused by medical negligence.

Special Damages are when you claim* for the financial effects on your life due to the medical negligence behind your injury or illness.

With Special Damages you claim* for: 

  •          The loss of earnings
  •          Care costs today and in the future
  •          Out-of-pocket expenses such as travel, medical appointments, further treatment 

Children with a birth defect may claim* for the cost of personal care for life, adaptations to the home and for ongoing medical treatments and therapy. 

You claim* Special Damages for the financial effects of a loss of income when recovering from a surgical error or needing to be off work for treatment due to delays in a cancer diagnosis. 

You claim* Special Damages to offset the financial costs of the medical negligence so you will not be out of pocket due to the actions of others. 

Each medical negligence claim* is different from another one. The financial effects may be heavier on you than on a person in a similar situation, and you may claim* for what you need when injured due to medical negligence. 

With this in mind, the payouts in medical negligence cases differ across the board. Your medical negligence solicitor can guide you on what to expect in compensation and how to make your claim*.

In your case of medical negligence, the solicitor can advise you on how the two types of damages are relevant to your claim* for compensation.

How to make a claim* for medical negligence compensation

To make a claim* for medical negligence compensation, you take everything one step at a time. It may seem daunting to take on the HSE or the hospital consultant, but with guidance, you can navigate your way through what can be a difficult process. 

The steps to follow when making a medical negligence claim* in Ireland are: 

If you think you may be the victim of medical negligence, you should seek immediate medical advice. 

A medical professional can assess your injuries and tell if you need further treatment. The medical professional’s advice can form part of any medical negligence case.

Engage a medical negligence solicitor to get advice on proceeding with your case. Only an experienced medical negligence solicitor will know if you have a valid case and how to proceed with it. 

The medical negligence solicitor will know who to contact to start the compensation case and will take over the running of your case.

Getting access to your medical records to see the history of your lack of professional medical care is the next step in the process. 

Your solicitor needs your permission to access your medical records. 

Only by getting a valid second opinion of your medical records can the solicitor see how you were injured and what to do next with your case.

Writing to the negligent party is always the next step once your solicitor advises you have a valid case for medical negligence compensation.

The letter of claim*, as it is known, outlines details such as the date and type of medical negligence and what you and the solicitor expect from the negligent party.

Your solicitor seeks a response to the letter of claim* before a set date.

The response from the negligent party, usually from their solicitor or insurer, will decide how the case will proceed. 

The negligent party will either admit to the medical negligence or deny all responsibility for what happened to you. 

The two sides can meet if the negligent party admits the medical negligence and an agreement can be made on what compensation is due to you. 

Unfortunately, you may need to go to court if the negligent party denies responsibility or the two sides cannot agree an acceptable level of compensation.

Going to court may be the final step in resolving your medical negligence case. In some cases, a claim* is settled on the steps of the court when the negligent party meets the victim of medical negligence. 

Court proceedings can be protracted, and you will need experience and expertise on your side when in the courtroom. 

Your solicitor will issue the court proceedings and advise you along every step of what can be a difficult process for the family.

What are the time limits for making a medical negligence claim* in Ireland?

There is a two-year time limit to claiming* medical negligence in Ireland. The clock only starts ticking on the two-year time limit from the day you realise you suffered medical negligence. 

Medical negligence may only become obvious years after you suffer poor medical treatment. You could go see another doctor with what you think is a different complaint, but they may see a path back to medical negligence. 

It is vital to take legal steps as soon as you realise you suffered medical negligence. Seeking a second medical opinion and engaging a medical negligence solicitor as quickly as possible often results in a successful compensation claim*. 

Parents can make a medical negligence claim* on behalf of a child at any time until they reach 18 years of age. 

Once a child turns 18, they have a two-year time limit to start a medical negligence case from when they realise what happened to them.

Start your medical negligence case today

Start your medical negligence case today by contacting PBN solicitors. 

PBN solicitors have the experience and expertise to guide you through the layers of making a medical negligence compensation claim*. We pride ourselves in taking the stress out of medical negligence litigation by providing a service dedicated to the client. 

The client is the one injured and in recovery. The last thing they should have to worry about is handling a medical negligence case. PBN solicitors take on your case and work with you to get the compensation you deserve. 

Contact PBN solicitors today for all your medical negligence compensation needs.