Sometimes medical professionals may cause more damage than good when trying to take care of a patient. The patient may also suffer an injury as a result of the medical professional’s actions. When the said action is out of line with the fundamental standards expected of the practitioner, it is referred to as medical negligence.
In a broad sense, either of the following constitutes medical negligence:
- Misdiagnoses – This is when a medical professional falsely diagnoses a patient, thus causing a delay in their treatment and consequently further harm to their well-being. A good example would be cancer misdiagnosis, or even recommending a surgery that caused more harm, which would have been avoided otherwise.
- Surgical errors – Such can be any situation where a medical professional makes a mistake during a surgical procedure, thus causing harm to a patient. Cosmetic surgeons can make a medical error that falls under this category.
- Birth injuries- When a child develops a complication as a result of an action or omission by the medic(s) in charge at their time of birth, it may qualify as clinical negligence.
- Errors in medication- Medical professionals sometimes prescribe the wrong medication or fail to prescribe what is required. As a result, a patient’s condition may worsen, or a personal injury may develop.
How to Prove Medical Negligence Claims in Healthcare
If you realize that you suffered some type of medical negligence, you may want to file a personal injury claim to receive some compensation. In Ireland, you have to be able to prove that a medical professional acted negligibly while treating you.
In a nutshell, you have first to prove that the practitioner acted in a way that no other reasonable medical professional would have under similar circumstances and which amounted to negligent treatment. Secondly, you have to show that their action directly resulted in whatever harm befell you afterward. You can take the following steps to prove medical negligence against healthcare professionals:
Seek legal advice
It is necessary that you get some legal advice. An attorney who is well-versed with medical negligence cases will help you establish whether or not your case is viable to file for a claim. In addition to that, they will give you guidance and sound advice on how to go about everything.
Collect your medical records
With your solicitor’s help, you will need to get medical records from wherever you had your treatment. These records will show who treated you, when, how, and with what. They will also clarify any symptoms you presented at the time of treatment. Receipts showing that you were treated at the said treatment center will also be of great help.
Get a medical opinion
You will need to get a medical opinion from an independent medical expert. This will help you show that someone else would have acted differently if presented with your situation. It will also help prove that the medical practitioner acted against the acceptable standard of reasonable care.
In case you have people around who witnessed how you were treated at the time, they may help strengthen your case. If the injuries are currently not visible, it will help to have pictures you may have taken earlier. You can also research and see if there are any prior complaints against whomever you intend to make a claim against. Such information may go a long way in boosting your claim.
The Time Factor When Proving Negligence in Healthcare
Once your attorney has established that you indeed have a case, they will involve qualified professionals to work out a claim and make a report to the necessary authorities. It is important to note that time matters in filing a claim. You are required to file a claim within two years of discovering that the medical professional’s negligence caused your injuries. This is irrespective of how much time has passed since your treatment.
Alternatively, you can file a claim within two years of your treatment. In the case of a minor, a claim can be filed after they turn eighteen. This means that they have to file the claim within two years after crossing into adulthood.
Factors that May Affect a Medical Negligence Claim
In the event that you can prove clinical negligence, several factors will play out in the assessment of your claim. Claim assessment is basically figuring out how much you have lost as a result of the negligence and what compensation is due to you. Here are some of those factors:
- Medical costs- How much have you had to spend on treatment due to the harm you suffered? Your compensation may be a lot or little based on this factor.
- The nature of your injuries- Is the injury permanent, or will it affect you for a while? How much pain do you have to endure from it? The more serious your injuries, the higher your claim may turn out to be.
- Your age- If an injury is life-long, a younger person is likely to receive higher compensation than one who is elderly. This is because a young person is presumed to have more years ahead than an aged person.
- Your prior medical records- Is the injury new, or has it just been worsened by the medical malpractice? You may be entitled to less compensation if your injury is something you had before.
- Your quality of life- How will this injury affect your life as a whole? For instance, if you are a footballer and a medical professional tampers with your leg, you may never play football again. This would mean that you are entitled to high compensation. In line with that, how will the injuries affect your income? If your injuries negatively affect your work schedule and your ability to make a living, you are subject to loss of earnings compensation.
If you wish to file a claim for medical negligence in Ireland, you need to be able to prove that it was indeed negligence. Having solid medical records and sound professional advice will go a long way in helping you do that.