Is it possible to claim compensation for negligence in patient follow up if I have been waiting more than four months for a follow up appointment from the hospital?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Answer:

It is only possible to make a claim for negligence in patient follow up if you have developed a health issue related to the medical procedure you underwent at the hospital or if – when you eventually receive an appointment for a patient follow up after a test has been performed – an avoidable delay has occurred in diagnosing or treating a health condition which has deteriorated as a result. Without a quantifiable injury, there can be no patient follow up negligence compensation claim.

Even if you have sustained an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition due to negligence in patient follow up, compensation claims can be particularly complicated. There are many people who may be responsible for failing to arrange a patient follow up appointment and furthermore, there is also the factor of your own contributory negligence to take into account if you have developed a health issue following a surgical procedure – or noticed the deterioration of an existing condition – and waited to hear from the hospital rather than arrange an appointment to see your family doctor and get a referral.

Even though negligence in patient follow up is usually attributable to administrative or technical negligence, you will still require a medical negligence solicitor to assist you with your claim for compensation for negligence in patient follow up as the Injuries Board Ireland would still classify this type of error as medical negligence – a personal injury they will not assess due to the regulations contained within the Personal Injuries Assessment Board Act 2003.

A solicitor should be able to determine where the breakdown in communications has occurred which has resulted in the lack of patient follow up – whether it was on your discharge from hospital, due to come through the post or whether a Public Health Nurse should have been in touch in the follow up appointment was due to be conducted in your home. It will then be possible to establish whether you have a patient follow up negligence compensation claim which is worth your while to pursue.

If this is the case, compensation for negligence in patient follow up will be awarded according to the extent and severity of your injury or in relation to the deterioration in your existing condition and the impact that this has made to your quality of life. However, if it is found that you have contributed to the extent of your injury by failing to seek medical attention when there was an issue with your health, your contributory negligence may reduce – or even negate – how much compensation for negligence in patient follow up you are entitled to.

As there are so many potential issues surrounding your entitlement to compensation for negligent patient follow up, you should discuss your individual situation with a medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity.