How is it possible to tell whether you are entitled to compensation for an infection after an operation?
Like many personal injury claims in Ireland, in order to be eligible to claim compensation for an infection after an operation, you (or the person on whose behalf you are asking the question) must have sustained a quantifiable injury due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care.
In most post-operative infection scenarios, the infection could have originated from the surgery you underwent or due to a lack of hygiene while you were recovering from the medical procedure. This choice of locations for the source of the infection can make it very difficult to pinpoint who is the negligent party in a claim for a post operation infection.
Furthermore, unlike many other types of personal injury claim, you might not be entitled to make a claim for a post operation infection if ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ the possibility of an infection was an acceptable risk in light of the other options available to the medical personnel who were responsible for your care.
This is because more than one risk to your health may have been present in a specific scenario, and the medical practitioners or nursing staff caring for you would have had to make a decision on which course of action “on the balance of probabilities” would do you the least harm.
There is also the condition attached to claims for an infection acquired in hospital that you must have suffered an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to your infection which was sufficiently significant to delay your recovery from the procedure you underwent to an “unreasonable” degree. If you were to claim compensation for an infection after an operation which was identified promptly, treated efficiently and caused no more than a few days delay to your recovery, it is unlikely that your claim would succeed.
Bearing all this in mind, in is not surprising that the Injuries Board will decline an application for an assessment of compensation for an infection after an operation, and you will have to discuss your eligibility to claim for a post operation infection with a solicitor.
In order to establish whether claims for an infection acquired in hospital are justifiable, the solicitor will obtain the medical notes relating to every element of your treatment while you were in hospital and have them reviewed by an independent medical expert.
If the medical expert can establish how and where your infection was acquired, and believes that it could have been avoided with greater care, your solicitor will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital, advising them that you are claiming compensation for an infection after an operation, and supporting it with the evidence of negligence compiled by the medical expert.
Inasmuch as this may appear a complicated procedure, you may already be aware of how and where the infection was acquired through conversations with medical staff at the hospital, and may be able to simplify the process of making a claim for a post operation infection when you speak with a solicitor.
The sooner you discuss the circumstances of your hospital acquired infection with a solicitor, the sooner a solicitor will be able to establish whether you have a claim for a post operation infection which is worth your while to pursue and, if so, the sooner your claim for compensation for an infection after an operation will be settled.