Case Study

Inadequate Medical Investigation

Case Type: Medical Negligence
Injury: Brain Haemorrhage
Settled by: Paul W Tracey
Settled on: 7th April, 2016
Inadequate Medical Investigation

Case Summary

Incident

On Sunday the 27/06/06, Mary began complaining of headaches and went to the doctor where she was asked several questions. Mary explained she had her own business and they were going on holidays so the doctor put it down to stress and gave her medication and sent her home. The next night, which was a Monday, Mary complained of headaches again with nausea so they went straight to Naas hospital. On Tuesday morning tests were carried out and Mary was told she needed a MRI but it was not available until the Thursday.

On the Thursday morning 29/06/06, Mary suffered from a brain haemorrhage and was moved into intensive care. They were told she was too bad to go to Beaumont. After much pleading Beaumont said they would take her at 2pm however no ambulance arrived until 7.30pm so she did not arrive at Beaumont until 8.20pm. She was in Beaumont from 29/06/2006 until August 2006. They waited about two weeks after the haemorrhage to operate. Mary was left with a lengthy recovery ahead of her and is in constant need of care which could have been avoided had the right tests and procedures been carried out, upon declaration of initial symptoms.

Case Progression

Proceedings started on the 10/10/2012 and was brought to the High Court.

Case Settlement

The lack of clinical vigilance and inadequate investigation into the severe headaches led to an easily avoided, cerebral haemorrhage with a devastating clinical effect. There was a 4-day window of opportunity for diagnosis which eventually led to this outcome. If the appropriate test had been performed, the outcome for this patient would have been very different. The case was settled on the 07/04/2016.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I make a medical negligence claim*?

    The process on how to make a claim for medical negligence* in Ireland is different when compared to other personal injury claims. Personal injury claims, in general, are first passed through the Injuries Board for assessment, before they reach a court hearing.

    Medical negligence claims* on the other hand, are brought straight to court and are not assessed by the Personal Injuries Board. If you do feel like you are subject to medical malpractice*, you can take the following steps to proceed with your medical negligence claim*:

    • Record the date and time of the incident and the details of the type of care received.
    • Retain any medical records relating to the incident.
    • Take a photo of any visible injuries sustained as a result.
    • Gather any additional relevant information on the medical procedure that was carried out incorrectly .
    • Contact a medical negligence solicitor*.
  2. What can be included in my claim*?

    Following a medical negligence claim*, the outcomes to a case are based on circumstances incurred from medical negligence*. These are known as damages:

    General Damages

    Non-financial damages include; pain and suffering, physical and emotional damage, loss of quality of life, and loss of opportunity.

    Special Damages

    These refer to out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the malpractice. For example, loss of earnings and future earnings (if you were out of work), current and future medical bills, care fees, costs of adapting a home, physiotherapy fees, and fees for medical equipment / ongoing medication needed.

    Conclusions to medical negligence case* will depend on certain factors like:

    • Medical History: If you have experienced similar medical issues in the past.
    • Long-term effects of your injury/illness: This comes down to the estimated lifespan of both people. For example, an 18-year-old person that suffered a lifelong injury or illness may be awarded more than an 80-year-old person who suffered an injury/illness.
    • Type of injury or illness sustained: Injuries arising from medical negligence range from minor to major. The types of injury sustained will be considered within legal proceedings*.
  3. How long do I have to make a medical negligence claim*?

    When taking into account how long medical negligence claims take, it is important to remember that medical negligence cases* require certain time frames in place within which you can bring a claim. For medical neglect claims*, it is two years less a day following the date of the incident or 2 years less a day following the date that a person made the connection that their illness or injuries were a result of medical negligence*.

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