Is there any difference between claiming compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error and because a doctor made a mistake?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Whenever a solicitor is compiling a medical negligence claim – whether it is a claim for compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error or a claim because the wrong kidney was removed during surgery – every aspect of why there was a breach in the ‘duty of care’ is analysed.

Frequently somebody other than the ‘primary’ medical practitioner is responsible for a medical error; and so a solicitor will request documentation from anybody and everybody involved in a medical procedure – from surgeons, to theatre support teams, to laboratory technicians and – indeed – hospital administrators.

Should it be established that the liable party in a claim for a delayed diagnosis at a hospital is somebody involved in the administrative process, the claim would still progress in the same way as any other medical negligence claim – i.e. without the involvement of the Injuries Board – and would be settled by the hospital, clinic or Health Service Executive depending on against whom the claim was being made.

There are further similarities between making a claim for a delayed diagnosis at a hospital and other claims for medical negligence compensation, inasmuch as you must have sustained an avoidable loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition in order to justify a claim for compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error.

If there was no notable deterioration in your health despite the delayed diagnosis, or if what deterioration occurred could be treated in exactly the same way and in exactly the same time as if it had been identified in a timely manner, it is unlikely that a claim for compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error would be successful.

Therefore, a solicitor compiling a claim for a delayed diagnosis at a hospital would ask an independent medical expert to review the notes from all parties involved in your medical treatment – and your personal medical history – to determine that an avoidable injury had occurred due to the administrative error.

Thereafter, the procedures for claiming compensation for a delayed diagnosis due to a hospital administrative error are exactly the same as any other claim for hospital medical negligence and, should your claim be successful, you would receive exactly the same settlement of compensation as if the medical error had been made by a medical practitioner.