Is it too late to make a claim against a gynaecologist for compensation if I have just found out that I am unable to have any more children because of a procedure I underwent several years ago?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Answer:

If you have just discovered that you are unable to have any more children due to a procedure that you underwent several years ago, you may still be eligible to make a claim for gynaecologist compensation. The Statute of Limitations in Ireland permits you two years from the “date of knowledge” that an injury has been sustained to make a claim against a gynaecologist for medical negligence; however before you can be sure that you are entitled to claim compensation for a gynaecological error, it has to be established that your gynaecologist was negligent and that you sustained an injury which could have been avoided had another course of action been taken or greater care been taken when you underwent the procedure.

Prior to undergoing a gynaecological procedure, the risks of that procedure should have been clearly explained to you and your consent to carry on with the procedure should have been obtained. If there was a risk that you would not have been able to have further children, and this was not explained to you, your gynaecologist has failed in his or her duty of care to fully explain what the significance and risks of a procedure were, they will be considered to have been negligent and you will be entitled to claim gynaecologist medical negligence compensation. You will also be eligible to make gynaecologist negligence compensation claims if the procedure had been performed with a lack of skill or if you developed an infection after the gynaecological procedure due to a lack of hygiene.

However, if you consented to a gynaecological procedure which carried the risk of infertility, or your infertility is due to an infection which developed after the procedure due to your own lack of care, a claim against a gynaecologist for medical negligence will be unsuccessful. It might also be the case that you consented to a gynaecological procedure such as for endometriosis, which would indicate that you could possibly have been infertile before the procedure took place; and your inability to have children was already an existing condition rather than caused by the negligence of your gynaecologist.

Gynaecologist negligence compensation claims are far from straightforward, and consequently the Injuries Board Ireland will decline any applications for assessment of compensation for a gynaecological error submitted to them. If, based on the information provided above, you feel that you have a claim for gynaecologist compensation, it is recommended that you discuss the procedure you underwent and the warnings you were given beforehand with a medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.

If the solicitor agrees that you have a claim against a gynaecologist for medical negligence which is worth your while to pursue, he or she will arrange for a medical expert to review your relevant medical notes, examine you independently to establish whether the injury you received was due to a poor professional performance by the gynaecologist or a post-procedure infection for which you were not at fault. Once it is determined that your gynaecologist was negligent and that you sustained an injury which could have been avoided had another course of action been taken, your solicitor guide you through the remaining procedures which need to be completed before a gynaecologist compensation claim can be made.

As you have already discovered that you are unable to have children in the future, the two year Statute of Limitations within which you are permitted to make gynaecologist negligence compensation claims has already begun, and you are advised to contact a medical negligence solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity.