Recently, it has emerged that 13 cancer cases were missed in patients’ colonoscopies at Wexford General Hospital. Over 600 patients were called back with over 400 sent for further colonoscopies. The HSE has commissioned an outside report to investigate the matter.
Medical Negligence Defined
Medical negligence is an act or omission by a member of the medical profession that is below an acceptable standard of care and results in an injury or death. It can relate to a range of errors including misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, an error in treatment or wrongful death. Medical negligence does not only occur in hospitals, it can exist where other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, dentists, GPs or opticians, fail in their duty of care towards a patient. However, it is not as straightforward as simply a failure below an acceptable standard of care; other elements must be present to establish a case for medical negligence.
Proving Medical Negligence
- Duty of care – healthcare professionals have a legal duty of care towards their patients.
- Breach of duty of care – the healthcare professional treating the patient must have breached his/her duty of care.
- Injury – the patient must have suffered an injury as a result of the medical treatment.
- Damage – the patient must have suffered loss or damage (monetary, physical or emotional) because of the injury.
Under the Statute of Limitations, a person has two years to bring a claim for medical negligence. The time period begins from the date on which s/he suffers the injury or the date when s/he became aware of injury, known as “date of knowledge”.
If you believe that you or a loved one may have a case for medical negligence, it is advisable to contact your solicitor as soon as possible as medical negligence cases can be complex and require specific expert knowledge and expertise.
Ronan Hynes is a Partner at Keating Connolly Sellors and has extensive expertise in this specialised area. He is renowned for a personal, sensitive, yet uncompromising, approach in pursuit of redress for victims of our healthcare system. If you or a loved one have been affected by or suffered a medical injury, please contact Ronan at [email protected] or call +353 (0)61 414 355 or +353 (0)61 432 348.
The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice. We advise people to always seek specific expert advice for their individual circumstances.