Case Study

Surgical Error

Case Type: Medical Negligence
Injury: Surgical Error*
Settled by: Elaine Hickey
Settled on: 18th March, 2021
Surgical Error

Case Summary


On the 29th of May 2018, Patrick attended his local general hospital for a laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery which can also be referred to as cholecystectomy. The day after the surgery, Patrick felt unwell and thereafter collapsed. Patrick was immediately re-admitted to theatre where the doctor discovered some internal bleeding. On the 30th of May 2018, Patrick was then transferred to the Hospital and kept in ICU overnight. A CT scan discovered that the doctor had accidentally cut the blood supply to the liver during the gallbladder removal surgery.

Patrick had to have a further operation on his liver which resulted in the right half of his liver being removed due to the lack of blood supply to it. Patrick spent over three weeks recovering in the Hospital. Due to this avoidable Iatrogenic Injury, Patrick experienced pain and suffering for over six months. Patrick was also unable to work so incurred a loss of earnings during this period.

Case Progression

Proceedings were instigated and the case was brought to a successful conclusion.

Case Settlement

The surgical error led to Patrick having the right half of his liver removed due to the cut of blood supply to this organ. The case was settled on the 18th of March 2021 for the sum of €100,000.

This was a great success for our client. We are proud of the hard work and care that was put into this case by our senior solicitor, Elaine Hickey, and her team.

*Note: Client name changed for GDPR reasons.

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 negligence 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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