Misdiagnosis Claim Solicitors – Drogheda, Ashbourne & Dublin
The law is there to support you. If you have been subject to medical negligence, you may seek compensation.
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Drogheda : 041 983 8708
Ashbourne : 01 835 2027
What is it?
The advice given by medical professionals is essential to our well-being. On the occasions when medical staff get it wrong, it can have a devastating impact on the quality of your life and the long-term consequences for your health. If you have suffered the misfortune of a medical misdiagnosis, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Common types and causes?
The most prominent and well known recent examples of misdiagnosis in a medical negligence context come from the scandals associated with the national screening systems, such as Cervical Check and Breast Check .
We act in many cases where there has been a failure to properly diagnose cancer as a result. In the case of breast cancer and cervical cancer this can necessitate more aggressive treatment than would otherwise have been necessary, including unnecessary mastectomy, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy for example, and generally resulting in increased morbidity.
Types of Injuries?
In addition to routine screening as part of public health programmes, one can also have the situation where a woman goes to the doctor with a particular symptom or concern, for instance going to see your GP after discovering a lump. We have acted in many cases where women were referred to a hospital, an ultrasound was done, and they were told that everything was fine. Then on subsequent screening or investigation, they found out that they had cancer and that it had since become significantly advanced in the meantime, and should certainly been picked up had the proper test been done when they first sought medical help on the issue.
Typically in these cases, the patient has discovered a symptom and has a concern and is worried, and goes to their GP, who refers them to the appropriate service. So the first question is, whether or not the GP takes the necessary action and makes the necessary referral. The question of what initial action should be taken by the GP it, of course, itself a medical one which will depend on a variety of criteria including the circumstances presented, the age of the woman etc. in order to determine the appropriate mode of treatment. But the first question that arises is what action was taken by the GP following the initial consultation and examination.
The next question to consider will be the action of the screening service to which the patient was referred. For instance, in a breast cancer context, an ultrasound alone may not be sufficient and we have seen many cases where an ultrasound is clear but there was a lump and the failure to refer the lump on for future investigation meant that an opportunity for an earlier diagnosis and treatment of the cancer was missed at a crucial point.
Another area in which misdiagnosis can arise is on a colonoscopy or investigative procedure where for instance a polyp is detected but isn’t appropriately actioned, or where a consultant who performs a colonoscopy writes to the GP and advises that there should be a follow-up review, but the patient is never made aware of that advice by the GP and the consultant doesn’t communicate with the patient directly.
Misdiagnosis can also arise in areas of medical practice other than cancer treatment. For instance, if a GP ran bloods, and there was a marker which showed that there was a clear renal malfunction, but it wasn’t picked up on and the patient wasn’t sent for testing, the failure to treat the renal failure early may result in a patient having undergone regular dialysis earlier than they might otherwise have had to, if at all.
Misdiagnosis issues can also arise following attendance at A&E. For instance, a patient may attend at A&E with certain symptoms, be given a clean bill of health at the emergency department and are then released and suffer a significant injury, whether it’s coronary or neurological, in the form of a stroke or bleed to the brain in circumstances where proper CT scans and other investigations of that nature were not carried out when they should have been. Failure to properly investigate deep vein thrombosis would be another example of this.
In the context of misdiagnosis, one has to always bear in mind that in all cases in medical negligence, even if you establish liability you then also have to be able to show causation, i.e. if there is negligence you then have to show that the negligence caused the damaged complained of and that it wouldn’t have happened anyway or for some other unconnected reason. This often comes down to how long there is between the actual misdiagnosis and the correct diagnosis, and whether or not you can show on the balance of probabilities that there would have been a better outcome had there been an earlier intervention.
For example, in the case of breast cancer that’s not picked up on quickly enough resulting in mastectomy, you will have to get an expert in breast surgery and oncology to give an opinion as to whether they could have avoided mastectomy, whether for example a lumpectomy could have been proceeded with instead or surgery avoided altogether. Similarly, an expert medical opinion will be needed to confirm whether chemotherapy or radiotherapy could have been avoided and what the increase in morbidity would have been as a result of the treatment required at the stage at which the cancer was ultimately diagnosed versus what might have been possible had it been diagnosed when it should have been. The medical opinion will need to be able to state with reasonable certainty whether the cancer would have been of a lesser stage if caught earlier, and then calculate the difference in survival rate as a result based on morbidity tables.
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How do these claims arise?
Medical negligence claims can occur under different circumstances. Some examples of medical negligence include:
- During surgery where there is an error.
- A misdiagnosed patient.
- Medical practitioner fails to act, notice an illness or medical need.
- Medical care is below the standard expected from a medical practitioner.
- A medical practitioner causes injury, loss of quality of life, or in some cases, leading to death.
Medical practitioners that may be attributed to the negligence of various injuries and illnesses are:
- Medical Consultants
- Plastic Surgeons
- Lab Technicians
The list can also include various members of a medical facility, either in the private or public sector.
What is the process to claim?
Once you have gathered all the relevant information in relation to your injury it is then time to move forward with your claim. It is important to use a specialist medical negligence solicitor to help you with this.
1. Speak with a solicitor
If you feel that you were not provided with appropriate medical treatment whilst under the care of a medical professional which resulted in injury due to the actions or in-actions of a medical professional, then speaking with a medical negligence solicitor following the injury is imperative. Medical negligence is a complex topic in Irish law. Speak to a medical negligence solicitor when bringing a claim forward. This ensures that no essential steps are missed throughout the legal process. Bringing a claim forward without having spoken to a solicitor can delay your claims procedure. A solicitor can help to determine your medical negligence time limit claim.
2. Obtain medical records
In order to make a claim, it must be established and proven that the injury sustained was caused by the medical negligence of the doctor or medical staff tasked with your medical care. Therefore, after having spoken with you about your case, your solicitor will then request access to your medical records. At this stage, the solicitor will have your medical records assessed by an independent medical expert. This will help determine whether a surgeon or medical staff who treated you had, in fact, administered substandard medical care and if negligence was the cause of the injury and if your injuries/outcome could have been avoided if the appropriate level of medical care had been adhered to.
3. Letter of Claim
If the independent medical expert has concluded that medical negligence has occurred, then your solicitor will draft a Letter of Claim to the medical practitioner who treated you. A Letter of Claim will outline the nature of your case and invites the medical practitioner to settle your case. The next steps involved are heavily dependent on your case. Your solicitor will be on hand every step of the way to guide you through this process.
What do you need to be able to claim?
If you believe that you have suffered because of medical negligence, either by way of an injury or the worsening or deterioration of a pre-existing condition, you may be entitled to a medical negligence claim. For your claim to be meet the legal test, generally, the injury or illness would have to have been ‘avoidable’ if the proper level of medical care had been administered. To be eligible for a medical negligence claim, the following circumstances must be proven:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed
- Proof the medical professional was negligent; and
- Proof that the damage caused to you was a direct result of the doctor’s negligence
To do this, your solicitor will build your case to show that during the period in which your injury was sustained that you had a patient-physician relationship. Proving this will involve reviewing records from the doctor that you claim was negligent, as well as prescriptions and other records.
Following this, to prove that your doctor was negligent, an independent medical expert review will be required by a third party. This third party will analyse your case, medical records and actions of the doctor to show that the doctor’s negligence ‘more likely than not’ caused the injury. They will determine whether you have been subject to sub-standard medical care. They will either confirm or deny that if they had carried out the same actions that, in their opinion, they could have avoided your injury or illness. Depending on the type of damage you have suffered, a further independent report may be required in order to prove that the damage suffered was caused by the negligence.
Medical Negligence Specialists
1. Team of Experts on Speed Dial
Tallans are the only solicitors in the North East who have a team of medical experts in the UK on every medical speciality – gynae, cancer, surgery and much more.
2. Expertise on Compensation
Tallans are well experienced in understanding compensation levels when it comes to medical negligence cases. Sheila, our Managing Partner, was chosen to sit on the HepatitisC Compensation Tribunal and witnessed first hand the anguish of victims.
3. Advise on the Value of a Case
The solicitors at Tallans, due to the level of expertise can advise on the value of a case. Medical negligence is hard to prove. The law in Ireland states that you need an expert report from a suitably qualified expert. In addition, Sheila’s experience in medical knowledge is itself phenomenal because of the amount of cases she has worked on.
4. Liaise with other solicitors
There are a few expert medical negligence solicitors around the country. Tallans is one of them and they all liaise with each other.
5. Confidence is guaranteed
While Orla and the team are actively pursuing cases in a variety of medical negligence cases, we are not shouting it from the roof tops. Your confidentiality is more important to us.
6. Medical Negligence is traumatic enough
Being hurt by the medical profession is traumatic enough. Now, you don’t have to travel far to speak with medical negligence expert solicitors in Drogheda and Ashbourne.
Talk To Tallans Today
We use our expert knowledge and 130 year’s experience to give you the voice you need. We use non-legal language and provide practical and impartial advice through every stage of the process!
At Tallans, our dedicated medical negligence solicitors have years of experience in helping people deal with traumatic medical injury claims. We understand the injuries, both physically and emotionally, that you have suffered and have supported and helped many people in similar situations proceed with medical negligence claims in Ireland over the past 30 years.
Want to know what it’s like to work with Tallans Solicitors?
The best way to find out is to see what past clients have said.
In a recent claim, Tallans Solicitors were superefficient and provided great service. I was very nervous coming in to see a solicitor but Orla Shevlin put me at ease straight-away. I found Orla very easy to talk to and knew I could trust her 100%.
I was extremely happy with the outcome of my case… Tallans were able to explain things to me in a way that I could understand. I have no hesitation in recommending Tallans to anyone.
From day one, Tallans Solicitors were transparent, clear and supportive regarding my case. They had a personable yet highly professional way in which they presented themselves.
From day one, they were on my side. I will now go to them for all legal advice in the future and recommend everyone to seek advice and services from Tallans in Drogheda.
About Tallans Solicitors
We draw on more than 130 years of experience in personal injury law to provide you with expert advice and legal services.
We’re here to help you with your claim, and will work with you to ensure you understand every step of your legal journey.
Our friendly and experienced team are waiting to answer your call. Lines are open Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 5.30 pm on 041 983 8708 (Drogheda) and 01 835 2027 (Ashbourne) or you can fill out our contact form and we’ll call you back.