Medical Negligence in Hospitals in Ireland

Can you explain what constitutes medical negligence in hospitals in Ireland? I am unsure if my mother will be entitled to claim compensation against the hospital.

The standard of healthcare provided in hospitals in Ireland is usually excellent; although mistakes can occur which result in patient’s injuries deteriorating and numerous cases of medical negligence in hospitals in Ireland being made every year in spite of the best efforts of nurses and hospital doctors.

Medical negligence (often termed clinical negligence or medical/clinical malpractice) is a failure to provide medical care of an acceptable standard, which results in an injury or death of a patient. Medical negligence usually – but not necessarily – involves a medical error being made.

There are many possible scenarios under which hospital medical negligence claims can be made, the most common of which are listed below. However, if you have suffered a deterioration in an existing health condition while in hospital, have sustained an injury or feel that the standard of care provided was poor and your health suffered as a result, you should seek legal advice about claiming compensation for medical negligence in Ireland.

Hospital Medication Errors

Medication errors include the prescription of incorrect drugs to treat an illness, a failure to administer the correct dose, combinations of drugs prescribed without consideration being given to how the medicines will interact or the prescription of drugs to which the patient has a known allergy.

Errors can be made by pharmacists resulting in the wrong medication to be given to a patient, and nurses can give a patient the wrong pills or incorrectly dilute intravenous drugs. All are examples of medical negligence and, if they result in a patient coming to harm, compensation can usually be claimed.

Failure to Diagnose an Illness and Misdiagnosed Injuries

Misdiagnosed injuries and diseases frequently involve medical negligence, and can result in patients undergoing unnecessary surgery or otherwise causing unnecessary pain and suffering. A misdiagnosed illness or injury can allow a patient’s condition to deteriorate, which can have life-changing consequences. A misdiagnosis of cancer may see the probability of recovery substantially reduced, and an incorrect diagnosis of a serious illness can cause considerable mental anguish and psychological problems.

Surgical and Procedural Errors

Medical negligence in hospitals in Ireland is often associated with surgical errors, such as the removal of a healthy organ or an injury caused by the carelessness of a surgeon. While these are clear cases of medical negligence, the contraction of infections after surgery and some health complications also involve medical negligence. Hospital procedural errors and mistakes made by nurses and administration staff can also cause considerable pain, suffering and loss of quality of life, and can also form the basis of personal injury claims for medical negligence in Ireland.

To find out if your mother is entitled to make hospital medical negligence claims against the HSE – or a private hospital – you should speak about your case with a medical negligence solicitor. There are many factors that can affect the right to claim compensation for medical negligence in Ireland, and every case is different and must be assessed on its own merits. Once the facts of your mother’s case have been established by a solicitor, she will be informed if a claim can be made under the circumstances and how much compensation she is entitled to recover.