How do you prove negligence if you want to claim compensation for the failure to diagnose DVT?
Eoin P. Campbell, LL.B., Solicitor
Editor in Chief
It is not always possible to ‘absolutely’ prove negligence in a claim for compensation for the failure to diagnose DVT, and many claims for the misdiagnosis of deep vein thrombosis are settled on ‘the balance of probabilities’ that a preventable error was made which caused you to suffer unnecessary pain due to the negligence of somebody who owed you a duty of care.
That somebody (who owes you a duty of care) may not necessarily be the medical practitioner who made the original misdiagnosis; as his or her verdict may have been influenced by incorrect notes being returned from a blood test or provided for him by an administrator.
Indeed, if you did not fully communicate the symptoms you were experiencing prior to the original misdiagnosis, you may have contributed to the medical practitioner´s misdiagnosis of your condition and may yourself be partially responsible through your own contributory negligence.
Therefore, in order to support a claim for the late diagnosis of DVT, you solicitor will first listen to your version of the misdiagnosis to establish the sequence of events which led to the original error and then to discover how much later the correct diagnosis was made.
The solicitor will write to everybody who was involved in the procedure to obtain their notes relating to any tests that may have been done or scans that may have been performed, and have the notes analysed by a medical expert with experience of the misdiagnosis of deep vein thrombosis.
If the medical expert believes that there is sufficient evidence of negligence to support claims for the misdiagnosis of deep vein thrombosis, your solicitor will give you the option of proceeding with a claim for the late diagnosis of DVT.
Should you choose to pursue a claim for compensation for the failure to diagnose DVT, your solicitor will then send a ‘Letter of Claim’ to the medical practitioner, clinic or Health Service Executive depending on the location of where the mistake was made, advising the negligence party that you are making a claim for the misdiagnosis of deep vein thrombosis and supporting the letter with the evidence collected by the medical expert.
Once liability is acknowledged, your solicitor will enter into negotiations to obtain the maximum settlement of compensation for the failure to diagnose DVT based on the pain you have experienced and any changes to your quality of life that you have had to make because of the medical error. Your solicitor will also recover any expenses you have incurred – or may incur in the future – due to the late diagnosis of DVT.
It would undoubtedly be in your best interests to speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity to explain the treatment that you received, how long it was before a correct diagnosis was made and what this terrible error has meant to you personally.