Compensation for a Post-Surgery Infection

Is it possible to claim compensation for a post-surgery infection against a hospital?

You may be entitled to claim compensation for a post-surgery infection against a hospital in certain circumstances. Normally the conditions for claiming compensation against a hospital are that you must have sustained an injury due to the negligence of somebody who had a duty of care for your well-being; however a claim for an infection after a medical procedure can be far more complex.

In most hospital infection scenarios, the infection could have originated from the procedure you underwent or due to a lack of hygiene while you were recovering from surgery. This choice of locations for the source of the infection alone can make it very hard to locate who may be the negligent party in a claim for compensation for a hospital acquired infection.

Furthermore, you might not be entitled to make a claim for compensation for a post-infection if ‘at the time and in the circumstances’ the possibility of an infection was an acceptable risk in the context of other options available to the medical team who were responsible for your care.

This is because there may have been more than one risk to your health in a specific scenario, and the medical practitioners performing the surgery, or nursing staff caring for you during your recovery, would have had to make a choice about which course of action “on the balance of probabilities” would do you the least harm.

There is also the condition attached to a claim for an infection after a medical procedure in hospital that you must have sustained an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to your infection which was sufficiently substantial to delay your recovery from the surgery you underwent to a “significant” degree. If you were to claim compensation for a post-surgery infection which was identified quickly, treated efficiently and caused a day´s delay to your recovery, it is unlikely that your claim would be successful.

Bearing all this in mind, in is no surprise that the Injuries Board will refuse an application for an assessment of compensation for a hospital acquired infection, and you will have to discuss your eligibility to claim for an infection after a medical procedure with a solicitor.

After hearing about the nature of the infection you developed after surgery, how it was treated and what the consequences were to your health, the solicitor will obtain the medical notes relating to your treatment while you were in hospital and have them reviewed by an independent medical expert In order to establish whether a claim for an infection after a medical procedure is justifiable.

If the medical expert can determine how and where your infection was acquired, and believes that it could have been prevented with greater care, your solicitor will send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the hospital, advising them that you are claiming compensation for a hospital acquired infection, and supporting the letter with the evidence of negligence compiled by the medical expert.

Inasmuch as this may appear a complicated process, you may already be aware of some key points relating to how and where the infection was acquired – for example through conversations with medical staff at the hospital – and may be able to simplify the procedure of making a claim for an infection after a medical procedure when you speak with a solicitor.

Because of the complicated nature of making claims for compensation for a post-surgery infection, it is recommended that you speak with a solicitor at the earliest practical opportunity while evidence of negligence is at its most recent and your claim for compensation for a hospital acquired infection has the greatest likelihood of success.



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.