If we believe that our doctor should have recognised the symptoms of septicaemia in time to save our daughter´s life last year, are we still in time to make a claim for septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation?

Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor

Editor in Chief

Eoin P. Campbell

Unlike claims for an injury to a child which can be made up to two years after the child´s eighteenth birthday, you are only allowed two years from the date of your daughter´s death in which to claim septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation. However, prior to making a claim for compensation for the misdiagnosis of septicaemia, it has to be proven that your doctor was indeed negligent and that his or her negligence resulted in your daughter´s death.

A claim for compensation for the misdiagnosis of septicaemia is only possible when there has been a misdiagnosis of symptoms of septicaemia presented to a doctor and a loss, injury or the deterioration of an existing condition has occurred because the symptoms were not identified correctly and appropriate treatment was not provided in an acceptable time frame.

However, in order to support a septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation claim for your daughter´s death, it has to be shown that your doctor displayed a lack of skill – or the lack of ability to display that skill – and that “in the circumstances and at that time” a competent doctor would have correctly identified the symptoms of septicaemia presented to him or her.

Therefore, even though the symptoms of septicaemia can be confused with other disorders, a medical expert will have to ascertain that your doctor should have been aware of the possibility of septicaemia in the circumstances and referred your daughter to a hospital for diagnostic tests. In order for your septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation claim to be successful, it will also have to be shown that your doctor should have identified that your daughter was suffering from a serious bacterial infection, and that this should have warranted swift and decisive action.

If a referral or tests to eliminate the possibility of septicaemia were not arranged within an acceptable time frame, a claim for septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation should be possible on the grounds of medical negligence; however, as the Injuries Board Ireland declines to assess medical negligence septicaemia misdiagnosis compensation claims, you will need a solicitor to compile and submit a claim to the doctor on your behalf.

It would be in your best interests to discuss the specific circumstances of your daughter´s death with a medical negligence solicitor at the first possible opportunity. Although it is likely to still be a sensitive time for you, the two year opportunity to make a claim for compensation for the misdiagnosis of septicaemia is already well advanced and the review of your daughter´s medical records has the potential to be a lengthy procedure.