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Medical Negligence* Claims

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Medical negligence* occurs when the treatment provided by the hospital, a doctor, surgeon, nurse, carer or dentist falls below the accepted standard of practice in the medical profession, resulting in the unnecessary suffering, injury or death of a patient.

When receiving professional medical advice or assistance, we place a tremendous amount of trust in the competence of the professionals. However, there are occasions when mistakes are made, which can lead to physical injury resulting in serious consequences.

Medical Negligence

Where can you turn?

Medical negligence leading to serious illness, injury, or even death, can be caused by:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Incorrect treatment
  • Overlooking Important symptoms
  • An unnecessary delay in diagnosis or treatment
  • Failure of medical equipment

If you or a family member has suffered as a result of medical negligence, it is not always easy to know where to turn for the help you need. At M.M Halley & Son, we have extensive experience delivering sensitive, approachable and expert legal assistance across South East Ireland.

How we can help

The first step is to arrange an initial consultation to establish whether there is a medical negligence case to answer. There is unlikely to be any charge for the first consultation. Thereafter, we will present a copy of the medical records to an independent consultant to determine whether there has been a deviation from accepted medical practice.

Once we have established the treatment has fallen short of the level expected, our medical negligence solicitors will work tirelessly to gather the evidence required to present the strongest possible claim. This may take the form of medical reports and opinions from medical experts.

Emmet Halley, who leads our specialist medical negligence claim team, is recognised as one of the leading authorities in this area. He has been involved in a number of significant court cases  in recent years, where figures in excess of €1million for clients has been achieved (see front page). Our expertise in this area enables us not only to understand the traumatic issues you are dealing with, but also to provide the sensitive, discreet and personal approach you need.

To discuss a potential claim… 

Please do not hesitate to contact our experienced team of medical negligence solicitors. Call Emmet Halley, Liz Dowling and Anne McGuire on 051 874073, or email:

Some Recent Case Studies

“Medical negligence action settles for considerable sum”

The firm recently represented an elderly lady who was diagnosed in January 2011 with end stage glaucoma in the right eye.    Given her history of glaucoma, she should have been followed up on a six monthly basis to ensure that the pressure in her eye remained under control.   However this did not occur and she “fell through the cracks” which led to her being rendered effectively blind, given that she also had difficulties with her other eye.

Her case was listed for trial and the week beforehand, it settled for €600,000.00 plus all legal costs.”

“Settlement in Cerebral Palsy Case”

Emmet Halley represents a client who suffered severe injuries at birth in 1986 at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny.   She has dyskinetic cerebral palsy, is unable to walk and has no consistent control over the movements of her limbs.

We received instructions from the family to commence High Court proceedings in 2012 against the HSE.

It was claimed that the management of the pregnancy and delivery fell below the requisite standard of care.

The claim was denied and the HSE contended in their defence of the case that they were prejudiced by the long delay in the case being taken, as one of their witnesses,  involved in the management of the delivery, had died.

A settlement offer of €2,100,000.00 plus costs was made a short time before the case was due to go to trial and the offer was approved by the High Court on the 4th June 2015.

Comment –

This was a very complex case.  It was necessary to source expert witnesses such as obstetricians and midwives who were practising at the time when our client was born in 1986.  This was not an easy task however, we were lucky to secure the assistance of a retired Irish obstetrician and midwife, along with some support witnesses from the UK.

In our opinion it is always more beneficial to a case to have Irish experts giving evidence for you.”

Traumatic Birth Cases

These can have serious consequences for both mother and baby.

Mother can suffer from a 3rd or 4th degree tear which can give rise to long lasting issues including incontinence, which can have a major impact on one’s self-confidence. We have dealt with such cases in the past and they have been successfully settled out of Court.

Baby can be born with what is called “shoulder dystocia” and we have also dealt with several of these types of cases.

Failure of Anaesthesia & Medical Negligence

We have had a number of cases of this nature.

Some have related to failure of general anaesthetic during caesarean section child-birth, whilst another related to the failure of an epidural anaesthetic during caesarean section.

In another anaesthetic case, a client was having surgery to repair a comminuted fracture of the left femur. The surgery was being carried out under spinal anaesthetic, however this failed, and she was aware of what was going on but was not offered general anaesthetic.

Late Diagnosis of Crohns Disease & Medical Negligence

Crohns disease is a severely debilitating inflammatory bowel disease which can lead to abdominal pain, diarrhoea, weight loss and malnutrition.

We have successfully dealt with cases where this condition was undiagnosed for many years, in spite of the fact that the clients had been under consultant care and had undergone a battery of medical tests and investigations.

Once diagnosed, and treated properly, this condition can usually be brought under control

Infection & Medical Negligence

The firm recently represented a client who had been an inpatient in a local hospital for 5 weeks and whilst there, a serious infection which he had, was not treated at all or properly and as a result, he ended up in another hospital, where the infection was treated and he had a good outcome.

The case was settled by the HSE on a very satisfactory basis.

We reported here in December 2016 about the successful outcome and interim payment to a young boy seriously injured by a misdiagnosis of chickenpox at UHW, when aged 2 years.

A further interim payment was agreed in December 2018 which will ensure that his needs for the next 4 years are taken care of.

Road Traffic Accident

Our client was involved in a single-vehicle road traffic accident in April 2013 when his car aquaplaned on the M9 motorway and went out of control, and collided with a bridge. He sustained a below-knee amputation of one of his legs. Case taken against the National Roads Authority, the local authority, the contractors who built the road and the designers of the road.

The case was contested by each of the Defendants, and full Defences were delivered by each of them. Following two unsuccessful days at mediation, the case was listed for hearing and settled for €1,200,000.00 prior to the hearing. This sum is made up of a sum for past and future pain and suffering and also items of “special damages”, such as the cost of a prosthesis and other equipment that might assist the client in the future.

Appendectomy & Medical Negligence

Our client was suffering from right-sided pain, which was associated with nausea and vomiting. She was referred by her GP to the hospital, and she attended A&E. She was diagnosed with possible appendicitis and was admitted. Surgery was performed the following day, and she had what was described as a laparoscopic appendectomy.

Over 12 months later, she again attended the A&E department on referral by her General Practitioner with severe pain in the same area. She was kept in for a week and discharged.

Some months later, she was re-admitted with ongoing symptoms she had a laparoscopy and was found to have an acutely inflamed appendix, and it was duly removed. Accordingly, it transpired that it had not, in fact, been removed on her first admission, nearly two years previously.

Proceedings were taken against the Health Service Executive. The HSE filed a full Defence, and the case was listed for trial but which settled for €75,000.00 prior to trial.

Hysterectomy & Medical Negligence

Our client, a young lady in her 30s, had a tumour removed from one of her ovaries. The histology revealed “a borderline tumour with areas of Grade 1 mucinous adenocarcinoma” It was decided that she should have a baseline CT scan and be kept on 6 – 12 monthly surveillance to look for evidence of recurrent disease.

It should be pointed out here that this young woman did not have any children at this time. She was not advised that she may require radical surgery on her uterus in the future or that if she required to have children, she should do so immediately.

Less than 12 months later, it was discovered that she had developed a large ovarian mass. She was advised that she required a total abdominal hysterectomy, which was carried out, and which naturally caused her great distress. This was devastating for her, as it precluded her from having children. She required chemotherapy following the surgery.

The case which was made by us was that the entire ovary should have been removed at the first surgery, not just the tumour, and if that course of action had been taken, it could have prevented her from having to undergo the hysterectomy procedure.

Proceedings against the Health Service Executive settled a short time prior to trial for €390,000.00.

Misaligned Wrist & Medical Negligence

Our client was involved in an accident when he fell and fractured his left wrist/arm. He was admitted to the hospital, and surgery was performed which required the insertion of wires. He was followed up and had physiotherapy. However, his grip strength was reduced, and he had pain and wrist deformity. His wrist was misaligned.

He sought a 2nd opinion, and two corrective operations were undertaken, with significant periods of rehabilitation and recovery following these surgeries.

Proceedings were taken against Health Service Executive, which was listed for trial but settled for €200,000.00 prior to trial.

Cervical check case – settled for €400,000.00.

The case made was that had the client been correctly diagnosed in 2012 she would have undergone a Lletz procedure and avoided the additional radical treatment which occurred subsequently including a radical hysterectomy, which has prevented her from bearing any further children.

FAQs for Medical Negligence Legal

What is considered medical negligence in Ireland?

Medical negligence, also known as clinical negligence, occurs when healthcare professionals provide care that falls below the accepted standard, causing injury or harm to a patient. This can include misdiagnosis, surgical errors, incorrect treatment, and failure to obtain patient consent.

How do I know if I have a valid medical negligence claim?

To have a valid claim, you must prove that the healthcare provider acted negligently and that this negligence directly caused your injury or harm. Due to the complexity of these cases, it’s advisable to seek legal advice to assess the merits of your claim.

What is the time limit for making a medical negligence claim in Ireland?

Generally, the statute of limitations for medical negligence claims in Ireland is two years from the date of the incident or from the date you first became aware of the harm. There are exceptions, particularly for children or cases where the harm was not immediately apparent.

How do I start a medical negligence claim in Ireland?

The first step is usually to consult with a solicitor experienced in medical negligence. They can advise you on the strength of your case and the next steps, which typically must involve obtaining medical records firstly and expert medical opinions.

What kind of evidence is needed for a medical negligence claim?

Evidence in medical negligence cases can include medical records, witness statements, expert medical opinions, and documentation of any financial losses or suffering caused by the negligence.

Can I claim compensation for emotional distress caused by medical negligence?

Yes, compensation for non-physical harm, such as emotional distress or psychological trauma resulting from medical negligence.

How long does a medical negligence claim take to resolve in Ireland?

The duration of a medical negligence case in Ireland varies. These cases can be complex and may take several years to resolve, especially if they go to trial.

Are there any risks involved in making a medical negligence claim?

There are risks, as with any legal action. These include the potential for financial costs if the claim is unsuccessful and the emotional impact of reliving distressing experiences. A solicitor can provide detailed advice on the risks involved.

Can I make a medical negligence claim on behalf of someone else?

Yes, you can make a claim on behalf of a child, an incapacitated adult, or a deceased family member. In each case, specific legal rules apply, so it’s important to seek legal advice.

What types of compensation can I receive in a medical negligence claim?

Compensation can cover physical and psychological injuries, loss of earnings, medical expenses, costs of future care, and other losses directly related to the negligence.

How are medical negligence claims settled in Ireland?

Most claims are settled out of court. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to trial, where a judge will make a decision. Cases of this type can also be resolved by means of mediation.

Is there a cap on medical negligence compensation in Ireland?

There is no fixed cap on compensation for medical negligence claims in Ireland. The amount of compensation is determined based on the individual circumstances of each case.

As with any legal matter, it’s important to consult with an experienced solicitor who can provide advice specific to your situation. If you would like to discuss a medical negligence case then get in touch today to arrange a consultation with Emmet Halley our trusted team or email us at

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Our highly skilled team of solicitors and legal experts are here to help you with all your legal needs. Contact MM Halley & Sons today.