Who is a compensation claim for the removal of the wrong kidney made against?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

A compensation claim for the removal of the wrong kidney is usually made against the Health Service Executive (HSE) or the private medical centre at which the procedure was performed. It is rarely the case that a claim for removing the wrong kidney is made against an individual consultant or surgeon, as they are regarded as the “servants and agents” of the employing authority.

Nonetheless, before it is possible to claim compensation for having the wrong kidney removed, an investigation into how the terrible accident happened will have to be initiated to establish where in the procedural chain the error occurred. It is not always the consultant or surgeon who is at fault – particularly if they have been provided with the incorrect notes or somebody else´s x-rays.

The best way to proceed with a compensation claim for the removal of the wrong kidney is to speak with a solicitor. Your solicitor will write to all the medical practitioners involved in your kidney removal in order to obtain their notes relating to your procedure. These notes will be examined by an independent medical expert engaged by your solicitor to establish who exactly was to blame for the medical mistake.

Your solicitor will then send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the HSE (or private medical centre) advising them that you are making a compensation claim for the removal of the wrong kidney and supporting it with the evidence compiled by the medical expert and any other supporting documentation – such as a copy of a ‘Letter of Complaint’ you may have already sent to the HSE or one which has been sent on your behalf by the solicitor.

While the HSE are performing their own investigation, your solicitor will assess how much compensation for having the wrong kidney removed you are entitled to based on subsequent events – such as if the HSE have arranged for a kidney transplant for you to replace the existing, unhealthy kidney, or if you are still having to undergo regular dialysis and the impact this has had on your quality of life.

There is no justifiable defence against the removal of the wrong kidney, so an admission of liability should be forthcoming within a reasonable space of time and, provided an agreement can be reached on the financial settlement of your claim for removing the wrong kidney, your claim should be resolved quite quickly.

It is advisable that you maintain a diary to record the impact that the medical error has had on your quality of life – particularly the times that you are feeling ill and the occasions when you are prevented from engaging in social activities and leisure pursuits that would normally have formed part of your pre-surgical procedure life. It is also recommended that you speak with a solicitor as soon as possible to start the process to claim compensation for the removal of the wrong kidney.