Hospital Negligence

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Hospital Negligence

hospital negligence claims

Hospital negligence, is a specific form of medical negligence, that occurs when substandard medical care or treatment within a hospital setting leads to patient harm. In Ireland, patients place a huge amount of trust in hospitals to deliver high-quality care; however, if and when this trust is breached, or when standards fall short, the consequences can be severe for patients and their families. 

In the guide below, we aim to help you understand the complexities of hospital negligence claims by providing information on how to identify hospital or clinical negligence, understand the common types of negligence and associated consequences, and outline the steps involved in making a claim.

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 is Hospital Negligence?

Hospital negligence occurs when the care provided by a hospital, either through its medical staff or practices, falls well below the accepted standard and causes injury or worsening the condition of a patient.

Hospital negligence can include errors made by medical professionals, including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare staff, as well as failures in hospital policies and procedures. Typically, most cases of hospital negligence occur in the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of the hospital.

Types of Hospital Negligence:

Incidents of Hospital negligence can vary, but often include:

  • Misdiagnosis or Delayed Diagnosis: A failure to make a correct or timely diagnosis can result in delayed treatment or inappropriate care.
  • Surgical Errors: Including wrong-site surgery, nerve damage, or leaving instruments inside a patient.
  • Medication Errors: Administering or prescribing the incorrect medication or dosage can have adverse health effects for patients.
  • Infections Acquired in Hospital: Infections resulting from poor hygiene or hospital practices.
  • Failure to Monitor Patients: Inadequate monitoring can lead to further (and often preventable) complications.

Consequences of Hospital Negligence:

The impact of hospital negligence can be profound, affecting patients physically, emotionally, and financially. Consequences may include:

  • Further Complications: Hospital negligence can lead to the worsening of a medical condition, or lead to further complications including injuries or disabilities.
  • Additional Medical Treatment: Patients may require further treatment, including surgeries, or long-term care as a result of hospital negligence.
  • Financial Strain: Expenses arising from prolonged medical care, loss of earnings, and other costs can put significant financial strain on individuals and families.
  • Emotional Distress: The stress and trauma of experiencing negligence can cause emotional and mental distress such as anxiety, depression, and loss of quality of life.

Common Causes of Hospital Negligence:

Several factors can contribute to hospital negligence, such as:

  • Understaffing: Problems with understaffing can lead to inadequate patient care and oversight.
  • Training/Inexperience: Negligence may arise through the inexperience of younger staff or as a result of healthcare staff may lack the necessary training for their roles.
  • Poor Communication: Lack of communication between medical teams; poor communication between hospital staff and patients; or failure to obtain a patient’s consent can all lead to errors in treatment.
  • Systemic Problems: Factors including critical shortages in patient resources (such as beds) or in gaps hospital policies, procedures, or safety protocols can lead to negligence

How to Make a Claim for Hospital Negligence:

Step 1: Seek Legal Advice

The first step in pursuing a negligence claim against a hospital is to consult with an experienced solicitor. Medical negligence law is a complex and specific field of law, and it’s recommended you consult a specialised solicitor who can provide you with advice on your specific situation.

They will be able to determine the merits of your case, advise whether you are eligible and on the likelihood of success, and then guide you through the process.

At Patrick J Farrell Solicitors, we specialise in medical negligence, don’t hesitate to contact us if you feel you have been a victim of hospital negligence.

Step 2: Gather Evidence

Your solicitor will request your medical records, all correspondence with the hospital, and any other supporting documentation you can provide. This evidence is crucial for establishing and supporting your claim of negligence against the hospital.

Step 3: Independent Medical Assessment

It may be necessary to have an independent medical expert evaluate your case to establish whether the care you received constituted negligence, and the impact on your health.

Step 4: Letter of Claim

Once your solicitor has gathered all necessary evidence, they will draft a Letter of Claim and notify the hospital of your claim against them. Your Letter of Claim outlines the alleged cause of negligence, and the resulting harm or injury sustained.

Step 5: Response and Resolution

The hospital, through their own legal team, will respond to the Letter of Claim. They may accept responsibility and offer a settlement; 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 to the best possible outcome and a fair compensation for any injuries, financial losses incurred, and any future care you may need. If a settlement cannot be reached, your case can proceed to court where your solicitor will prepare for and represent you in proceedings.

Seeking Legal Support for Hospital Negligence

Hospital negligence claims can be challenging both legally and emotionally. However, armed with the right information, support, and legal guidance, affected individuals and their families can successfully seek the justice and compensation they rightfully deserve.

If you believe you or a loved one has suffered due to hospital negligence, it’s crucial to seek expert legal advice. At PJF, our expert team can provide compassionate advice and expert legal guidance to ensure you get the best possible outcome. If you feel you’ve been affected, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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.

Talk to a Medical Negligence Solicitor


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