Medical Negligence Case Studies

Many Law Firms state they cover Medical Negligence Cases but in fact, this is a very specialised area and there only a few law firms in the country that can say that they are experts in this area – we are one of them. Below are just a few cases we have settled.  If you would like to discuss in more details, please do not hesitate to give us a call.

Delayed Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

James McSweeney Solicitors recently acted for the victim of a delayed diagnosis of breast cancer.  The matter was very hard fought by the  Defendants who appeared to be trying to drag the case out even though there was very clear evidence of negligence on the part of the doctors involved.  The way the Doctors chose to defend the action, in spite of irrefutable evidence of negligence, resulted in our Client making a formal  claim for Aggravated Damages.  This is still quite rare in Ireland.  Aggravated Damages can be awarded by the Court as compensation for egregious or exceptionally bad behaviour by the Defendants in the way they go about defending the case.  In the end the Defendants withdrew their formal Defence and admitted Liability for our Clients injuries, but only at the last second and just before the case was to be heard in Court.  The case settled for a considerable sum in Damages and, as part of the Settlement, the Defendants issued a formal written apology.  Every year a considerable number of people suffer as a result of this kind of negligence.  The consequences are serious for the victim, especially when there is a delayed diagnosis of Cancer.  Remember that there is a time limit of two years from the date of the negligent event with few exceptions.  If you feel that you have been the victim of such negligence then you should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

Irish statistics show that breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer in women with 2500 cases diagnosed every year.  The numbers are such that there is a nationwide screening system in place and there is no excuse for a doctor who chooses not to follow he published guidelines.

For further information on the GP referral guidelines please follow the following link.  If you are worried about any physical changes that you have noticed, your GP should follow these guidelines and get you to the relevant support and investigation unit within the time limits set out here:

http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/5/cancer/archive/Statistics/Breast_Cancer_Referral_Guideline.pdf

3rd Degree Perineal

Emma Meagher Solicitor has recently secured settlement of a six figure sum for a young woman who suffered an undiagnosed  3rd degree perineal tear while giving birth to her baby girl.

Our clients baby was in the occiput posterior position (baby’s head was against the Mum’s back) and weighed over 4kg. These are both risk factors which medical practitioners should identify when advising a patient whether or not they need a caesarean. These risk factors were never discussed with our client.

On the 1st July 2011 our client went into labour, she soon got into difficulties as the baby’s head was in the incorrect position for delivery. Instead of rotating the head, the baby’s head was dragged through the birth canal with a curved forceps. When a baby is in the OC position the posterior of the baby’s back is usually extended straight along the mother’s spine. When the baby’s back is extended is often pushes the baby’s chin up making the baby’s head seem larger. This procedure with the curved forceps damaged the mother’s local soft tissue and led to our client suffering a 3rd degree tear leading to her anal sphincter. The Doctor failed to notice the tear and therefore failed to suture and repair it. Due to the tear not being immediately repaired our client suffered from faecal incontinence and infection.

Four months after the birth of her baby our client had to return to hospital for further surgery to have the tear repaired. Unfortunately, the repair has not been totally successful and she still suffers from continued symptoms of urgency. Her injuries have also affected her relationships and she has suffered psychologically and emotionally. Our client also suffered loss of earnings as she could not return to work.

The medical experts engaged by James McSweeney Solicitors confirmed that if the treating doctor had identified the tear and immediately repaired it she would not have suffered the trauma she had to endure, she would have had a good outcome and would not have suffered continence or any other related problems.

Marina Coil Cases

The official statistics show that problems with the insertion of Intrauterine Contraceptives are very rare.  For example, they say that the instances of perforation of the Uterus are limited to 0 to 2.3 per 1000 insertions.  In spite of this reassuring statistic, we have represented women who have suffered such an event.  The experience of the Doctor inserting the IUD is crucial.  A Doctor who does not have the relevant training or does not carry out the recommended number of insertions per month should not carry out the procedure.  Even if the Doctor has the training, there are certain times when the procedure should not be carried out because the risk of perforation is higher.

The patients history is most important and it can often be the case that the IUD should be inserted under a General Anastheatic with the relevant expert and all the associated clinical back up that goes with that. At certain times the risk of damage is just too great to be offset by the potential benefit of the procedure and women who suffer damage from procedures that are carried out at these inappropriate times or in the incorrect setting should seek legal advice, especially in circumstances where the follow up support needed is not forthcoming.  We have found, unfortunately, that this can often be the case.

Ectopic Pregnancies

Ectopic is the term used when A pregnancy occurs outside the Uterus. The most common form that we come across is an ectopic pregnancy in a Fallopian Tube.  If these pregnancies are not discovered they can be life threatening.  Early detection results in the best outcome.  It is essential that the proper tests are done as, gone undetected, these pregnancies can be life threatening.  If detected in the early stages the pregnancy can be treated chemically with no resulting damage to the patient.  At the next level of detection the pregnancy can be removed by laparoscope.  Failure to do this may result in the rupture of the fallopian tube and removal of the fallopian tube.

The fertility concerns following such an event are obvious.  We have acted in cases where the pregnancy was allowed to progress to the point that an operation for removal of the fallopian tube became necessary and the wrong tube was removed.  Such events are thankfully rare.  In cases where the medical management has been so poor as to result in a requirement for IVF in future in order to become pregnant, then clearly a case for the cost of that IVF treatment can be taken as part of a clinical negligence action as the costs associated with IVF treatment can be very considerable.

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