Delayed Diagnosis Claims

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Delayed Diagnosis

medical negligence ireland

A timely and accurate diagnosis is crucial in effectively any medical condition.

Unfortunately, delays in diagnosis can and do occur, and this can have a serious impact on a patient’s health leading to poor outcomes, additional pain and suffering, and, in extreme cases, irreversible damage or premature death. 

Under Irish law, patients who have suffered due to a delayed diagnosis have the right to pursue compensation for medical negligence. This guide outlines what constitutes a delayed diagnosis claim, common types and causes, possible consequences of delays, and how to pursue legal action.

Helen Coughlan

Helen Coughlan
Medical Negligence Solicitor

Helen Coughlan is a partner and advises on medical negligence*, family law and personal injuries*. Helen is a qualified family mediator and collaborative law practitioner and is Chairperson of the Family and Child Law Committee of the Law Society.

Contact Helen Today

What Are Delayed Diagnosis Claims?

Delayed diagnosis claims typically arise when there is a significant or unjustifiable delay in diagnosing a medical condition, and this results in harm to the patient that could have been avoided with swifter action. 

These claims aim to hold healthcare providers accountable for the negative impact a delayed diagnosis can have on a patient’s health.

Common Types of Delayed Diagnosis:

  • Cancer: A delayed cancer diagnosis can lead to the advancement of the patient’s cancer, it can limit treatment options and reduce the chances of a successful outcome.
  • Heart Disease: For patients with heart problems, a delayed diagnosis can result in preventable heart attacks or strokes.
  • Infections: Delays in diagnosing a patient correctly can lead to serious complications such as infections or sepsis.
  • Neurological Conditions: Late diagnosis of neurological problems can affect the treatment, management and progression of diseases such as multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Consequences of a Delayed Diagnosis

The consequences of a delayed diagnosis can be severe, including:

  • Advancement of Medical Conditions: Medical conditions can become more advanced and more difficult to treat due to a delayed diagnosis, and, in the most severe cases, can sometimes be fatal.
  • Increased Treatment: A delay in diagnosing and treating a medical condition may cause it to progress, requiring additional medical treatments or interventions that may not have been necessary.
  • Physical and Emotional Suffering: Prolonged pain, distress, and a significant impact on quality of life.
  • Financial Strain: Increased medical bills, loss of income, and other related costs.

Common Causes of a Delayed Diagnosis:

Factors contributing to a delayed diagnosis often include:

  • Failure to Order Tests: Healthcare providers may neglect to order appropriate diagnostic tests.
  • Misinterpretation of Results: Errors in reading test results can lead to missed diagnoses, which can have a significant impact on patient health.
  • Poor Follow-Up: Slow or inadequate follow-up with patients or results may result in a delayed diagnosis and delayed treatment.
  • Systemic Issues: An overburdened healthcare system or understaffed medical facilities can lead to rushed consultations, missed details and delays in diagnosis. 

How to Make a Claim:

If you or a loved one has suffered due to a delayed diagnosis, you can take the following steps to pursue a claim:

Step 1: Seek Legal Advice

The first step in making a claim for a delayed diagnosis is to consult with a solicitor experienced in medical negligence and delayed diagnosis claims. They will guide you through the process and assess the merits of your case. An experienced solicitor will be able to determine your eligibility and advise you on the likelihood of your claim’s success. 

Patrick J Farrell Solicitors specialise in the area of medical negligence, if you have been affected by a delayed diagnosis, don’t hesitate to contact us regarding your concerns and to receive expert advice. 

Step 2: Gather Evidence

Your solicitor will request your complete medical records, which are crucial for supporting your claim of a delayed diagnosis. This includes your full medical records, any  correspondence with the medical practice or practitioner,  and other documentation related to your care. These pieces of evidence are essential for establishing that negligence occurred.

Step 3: Independent Medical Assessment

If necessary, you may need to have an independent medical expert evaluate your case and whether the care you received constituted negligence.

Step 4: Letter of Claim

Once your solicitor has gathered all necessary evidence, they will draft a Letter of Claim and notify the medical practice/practitioner that you intend to take a case against them. Your Letter of Claim outlines the details of your claim, the alleged cause of negligence leading to a delayed diagnosis, and the subsequent consequences for your health. 

Step 5: Response and Resolution

The Doctor or Practice, through their own legal team, will respond to the Letter of Claim. They may accept responsibility and offer a settlement for any harm or suffering; or they may dispute the claim which will lead to further legal proceedings. Many claims are settled out of court. Your solicitor will negotiate on your behalf in order to receive fair compensation for  your injuries, any costs incurred, and any future care needs. 

However, if a settlement can’t be reached, your case could proceed to court where your solicitor will represent you in any court proceedings.

Seeking Legal Support for a Delayed Diagnosis Negligence

Delayed Diagnosis claims can be complex and require a thorough understanding of both medical and legal issues. If you or a loved one has suffered due to a misdiagnosis of cancer, it’s important to seek expert legal advice to ensure you receive the justice, closure and compensation you are entitled to. 

If you believe you have a case for a Delayed Diagnosis claim, don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. Our expert team is committed to providing the compassionate guidance and support you need to achieve the best possible outcome.

Have You Experienced Medical Negligence?
Let the Experts Stand By You.

At Patrick J Farrell & Company Solicitors, we understand the profound impact medical negligence can have on your life. With a legacy founded by Patrick J. Farrell and carried forward by a dedicated team, we have been advocates for justice for over four decades. Our commitment to putting our clients’ interests first, combined with our extensive legal expertise, makes us the ideal partners in your pursuit of justice.

From the moment you walk through our doors to the resolution of your case, you’ll be treated with the utmost courtesy, respect, and understanding. Choose us – where your well-being is our top priority. Reach out to us today and let our experienced solicitors guide you every step of the way.

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