Compensation for a Delayed Diagnosis due to a Hospital Administrative Error

Can I claim compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error? I was given someone else’s test results, and this mistake was not discovered for a month.

In order to make a personal injury claim for an injury due to a medical error there must have been negligence and, while many people understand that this applies to errors made by doctors and nurses, it can equally involve the administrative staff at a hospital – it should therefore be possible for a claim for compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error to be made.

If any administrative error (such as the mislabelling of test results) causes a health condition to deteriorate, it is possible to claim personal injury compensation for a hospital administrative error. Whether it will be worth while doing so will depend on how much the injury has deteriorated, whether the probability of successfully being able to treat the condition has been affected and how much pain and suffering has been caused by the delayed diagnosis.

Although any injury or the deterioration of an existing condition was caused by the negligence of non-medical personnel, the Injuries Board will still decline any application for assessment submitted to them, so you will need to speak with a solicitor if you believe that you have a justifiable claim for a delay in diagnosis due to a hospital error.

Most personal injury solicitors offer an initial consultation without charge, and the legal advice offered can make a difference to the outcome of a claim and the amount of compensation that can be recovered. It is also strongly recommended that you allow a solicitor to prepare your claims form and to arrange for you to receive a independent medical examination. It is important that the degree to which your injuries have deteriorated due to the delay in diagnosis due to a hospital error is accurately assessed.

You will not be able to claim any compensation for the original medical condition or initial health problem, only for the degree to which it has deteriorated, and this can only be established by a doctor. A solicitor will arrange for you to see a specialist doctor to determine how the delay in diagnosis due to a hospital error has affected your health and prospect of making a full recovery.

There is no guarantee that the HSE will accept liability for the mistake, or that it will agree to the amount of compensation recommended by your solicitor, so it may be necessary to pursue compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error through the courts. Should this be necessary a solicitor will prepare the case for litigation after discussing your options with you.

This is an Information site only – if you feel you have a potential claim, you should discuss your situation with a solicitor registered with the Law Society of Ireland.