Medical Negligence* is one of the most traumatic experiences that an individual can experience. Medical Negligence can lead to physical, emotional and personal trauma, as well as loss of earnings. We offer an expert service to victims of medical negligence with the aim of a case not only being compensation for the negligence suffered but also providing the victim with justice. One hopes it also assists in improving medical standards.
Misdiagnosis of a condition
Unreasonable delay in treating a diagnosed condition
Mistakes made during a procedure or operation
Prescribing the wrong medication
Failure to obtain consent for treatment
Failure to warn about the risks of a particular treatment
Neglect and injuries during childbirth
Thankfully the majority of births happen without any problems at all and the birth is one of the happiest moments in a parents life . However when something goes wrong it can be very traumatic. If an infant is injured during the birth process the injury is categorised as birth trauma or birth injury. Birth injuries can have devastating effects on a family with some birth injuries being life long and requiring special care for the child. As well as the emotional strain this can place on a family, there can be huge financial strain as this special care is often very expensive.
Whilst some birth injuries can be as a consequence of several factors, some are due to preventable errors or medical negligence on behalf of the professionals involved ie the doctors or midwives. Unacceptable treatment during a birth or poor diagnosis of an infants condition often lead to catastrophic injuries.
Our Solicitors in Dublin have represented many clients who have suffered due to birth injury medical negligence. There are several types of birth injuries that commonly occur as a result of complications during pregnancy, labour, and child birth. Our experience covers a range of areas including:
Brachial palsy occurs when the brachial plexus (the network of nerves located beneath the collar bone that supplies the arms and hands) is injured. It is common when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder, called shoulder dystocia. The baby may lose the ability to flex and rotate the arm and a permanent disability could result.
Caput is a severe swelling of the soft tissues of the baby’s scalp that develops as the baby travels though the birth canal.
Pressure on the baby’s face during birth or labour may cause the facial nerve to be injured. This quite frequently occurs with the use of forceps for delivery. The injury is often seen when the baby cries when there is no movement on the side of the face and the eye may not close. If the nerve is simply bruised, the condition should heal within weeks however if it continues minor surgery may be needed.
A problem with formation of the hip joint. The location of the problem can be either the ball of the hip joint (femoral head), the socket of the hip joint (the acetabulum), or both.
Fracture of the clavicle or collarbone is the most common fracture during labour and delivery. The clavicle may break when there is difficulty delivering the baby’s shoulder or during a breech delivery.
An abnormally low level of blood glucose which can cause long-term brain damage.
The development of ‘cerebral palsy’ is one of the most serious types of birth injuries that a child can develop. Cerebral Palsy is caused by an injury to the brain before, during, or shortly after birth. Problems during birth such as the baby not getting enough oxygen, or a difficult delivery in which the baby’s brain is injured may result in Cerebral Palsy. The term “Cerebral Palsy” is used to describe a medical condition that affects control of the muscles. Due to an injury to the brain, the sufferer is unable to use some of the muscles in their body in the normal way. There are different types of Cerebral Palsy; spastic quadriplegic or Hemiplegia Cerebral Palsy, Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy, Hypotonic or Ataxic Cerebral Palsy.
Some babies born with Cerebral Palsy do not show obvious signs right away. Classically, Cerebral Palsy becomes evident when the baby reaches the developmental stage at six and a half to nine months and is starting to mobilise, where preferential use of limbs, asymmetry or gross motor developmental delay is seen.
Proving that a medical practitioner acted negligently is complex which is why the Injuries Board in Ireland decline to assess applications for birth injury compensation. This can be further complicated if there were a number of medical staff involved in the delivery as your solicitor and your medical expert will have to determine who exactly was negligent.
Your solicitor will first of all apply for both the medical records of the mother and child and any additional notes relating to the birth of the child. A formal complaint will also be lodged against those believed to be responsible for the birth injury ie the Hospital/ Clinic, HSE, midwife or Doctor.
A patient who suffers an injury as a result of medical treatment received in a hospital , may have a hospital negligence claim. Not every mistake made in your hospital treatment amounts to a claim. The hospital has to have been negligent in that on the balance of probabilities the medical treatment received was in the eyes of the law below the standard required and as a result the injury or illness was caused. The court will ask whether a competent healthcare professional would have taken the same steps or carried out the same treatment as the hospital . This is important as it may be found that event though the course of action by the medical practitioner contributed to the patients injury, it may not be deemed negligent if the defence can prove that the medical practitioner acted reasonable and other medical professionals would have done the same.
Examples of Hospital Negligence cases include:
As compensation claims for hospital negligence are among the most complex of legal claims for compensation in Ireland, it is advisable to speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
When you visit your Dentist you trust that your Dentist will carry out works, whether a check up or dental treatment or cosmetic treatment in the correct manner. Unfortunately this is not always the case.
Dentists are recongnised in Ireland as medical practitioners under the Medical Practitioners Act 2007 and therefore have obligations similar to medical practitioners to carry out their procedures to a high standard. If you have suffered an injury due to a mistake made, failure to diagnose or a procedure has not been carried out correctly, you may have a claim for compensation against the practitioner for Dental Negligence / Dentist Negligence.
Dentist Negligence cases are very complex and this is recognised by the Irish Legal System. The Injuries Board refuses jurisdiction in relation to medical malpractice cases and so the normal procedure through the Injuries Board does not apply.
To succeed in a dentist negligence case:
Various issues can arise during dental treatment leading to nerve damage. The dental anesthesia may not work or may damage the nerve. A local injection into the nerve can damage the nerve, which can result in permanent numbness to a specific area in the mouth.
Various issues can arise during cavity filling dental treatment. Again, the dental anesthesia may not be properly administered leaving a very painful procedure. The filling may be carried out incorrectly leading to infection, or other issues. An incorrect dental filling can result in the requirement for a crown to be placed over the tooth.
This very treatment can be problematic. Again, the dental anesthesia may not be properly administered leaving a what is a serious procedure in itself very painful.
An example of a problematic root canal treatment is when a dentist did not find and clean out all of the roots before applying a crown. In these circumstances , periodontal disease can persist leading ultimately to the removal of the tooth and the replacement with a bridge or artificial tooth.
The treatment of periodontal disease itself can also be negligent. A patient may be allergic to an antibiotic used by the dentist, the disease itself may not be properly treated which may lead to tooth extraction.
Crowns and veneers can be placed negligently. If a crown does not match the bite surface of the original tooth correctly , it can lead to chronic dental pain.
In relation to both crowns and veneers, the treatment can be problematic if it does not match the patients expectations.
A patient who suffers an injury as a result of medical treatment received by a doctor, may have a medical negligence claim*. Not every mistake made by a doctor amounts to a claim. The doctor has to have been negligent in that on the balance of probabilities the medical treatment received was in the eyes of the law below the standard required and as a result the injury or illness was caused. The court will ask whether a competent healthcare professional would have taken the same steps or carried out the same treatment as the doctor. This is important as it may be found that event though the course of action by the doctor contributed to the patients injury, it may not be deemed negligent if the defence can prove that the doctor acted reasonable and other medical professionals would have done the same.
Examples of Doctor Negligence cases include:
As compensation claims for doctor negligence are among the most complex of legal claims for compensation in Ireland, it is advisable to speak with an experienced medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.
Medical malpractice is professional negligence by act or omission by a health care provider in which the treatment provided falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical community and causes injury or death to the patient, with most cases involving medical error.
If you have suffered an injury as a direct result of negligent medical treatment or care that you have received, this may be referred to as ‘medical malpractice’.
Medical Malpractice cases are very complex and this is recognised by the Irish Legal System. The Injuries Board refuses jurisdiction in relation to medical malpractice cases and so the normal procedure through the Injuries Board does not apply.
Thankfully the majority of medical practitioners perform their daily duties to a high standard however incidents do happen and errors of judgment occur or neglect to carry out duties to the requisite standard. It can often be as a result of inexperience, lack of familiarity with a new procedure, stressful environment and long hours or a combination of these with results in a doctor maltreating a patient.
To succeed in a dentist negligence case:
It is possible that medical malpractice occurs after a plaintiff has been injured in an accident ie road traffic accident or other incident. A situation can arise whereby the medical malpractice does not cause the injury however can exacerbate it. In these circumstances an apportionment of the blame usually applies.
A plaintiff must establish all four elements of the tort of negligence for a successful medical negligence claim which are:
A duty of care was owed. An immediate duty is owed whenever a medical practitioner undertakes care or treatment of a patient.
That duty of care was breached. The medical practitioner must be shown to have failed to conform to the relevant standard care.
The breach of duty of care caused an injury to the plaintiff
Damages. Without damages there is no basis for a claim, regardless of whether the medical provider was negligent.
Once all four of the above are present a medical negligence case is established.
As soon as you believe that you may have a medical negligence claim, you should contact us to discuss whether you have a viable case. There is a strict timeline for taking a negligence case. Pursuant to Section 7 of the Courts and Civil Liability Act, 2004, a Medical Negligence case must commence within two years from the date of knowledge of the medical misadventure event which is generally when the negligence occurred.
Many victims of medical negligence have delayed pursuing a claim or contacting their solicitors and therefore were unable to pursue valid claims because their claims have become statute barred.
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If you would like to discuss making a personal injury claim please contact us to discuss further by calling our phone number: 01 234 0044 . We will be happy to have a no obligation conversation with you to discuss your claim and provide you with advice and an initial opinion regarding your injury, the process from the personal injuries assessment board to issuing proceedings in a case. We pride ourselves in knowing that our clients are always fully informed and advised of all aspects of their case from the beginning when they first speak to us regarding an injury such as accident at work, special damages, traumatic experience that goes for long term consequences etc.
Cosgrove Gaynard Solicitors, 39 Waterloo road, Dublin 4.
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