Compensation for an Infection after an Operation
How would I go about claiming compensation for an infection after an operation on behalf of my son who contracted MRSA when he was getting his tonsils taken out?
A child who is in need of compensation for an infection after an operation is slightly different than a situation where an adult is making such a claim. This is due to the fact that under Irish law a child is not permitted to advise a solicitor or initiate a claim on their own behalf. For your son to be compensated for the infection he contracted from surgery, a parent or a legal guardian will have to pursue a claim on for him acting as his “next friend”. A next friend will initiate a claim on a child’s behalf; advise a solicitor in addition to taking responsibility for any financial consequences if the claim is ultimately unsuccessful.
Furthermore, because children cannot make a claim for themselves, the Irish Statute of Limitations applies somewhat differently when it comes to a child medical negligence claim. The Statute imposes a two year time limit on potential claimants who wish to make a medical negligence claim. However, with regards to your son’s illness from an operation, this two year time limit will not begin until he turns eighteen — the age when he will be permitted to take legal action for himself. Nevertheless, although it may seem like you have ample amount of time to claim compensation for sustaining an infection after an operation, it is still best to contact a medical negligence claims solicitor at the first possible moment. It is always advisable to pursue a claim while recent evidence is still available, furthermore a solicitor will be able to assess the viability of your son’s claim and advise you on how best to proceed.
Although having suffered an infection contracted from surgery may seem like a clear demonstration of negligence and a breach in the duty of care that all medical professionals owe their patients, medical negligence claims tend to be complicated. Furthermore, it may be difficult to prove that your son’s illness from his operation did occur due to negligence. Whether or not he could be eligible to obtain compensation could be dependent on if he was screened for MRSA before his surgery, as it could be asserted that he was already carrying the bacteria.
Your son is more likely to be entitled to claim for the negligent treatment of his MRSA, rather than making a claim for having contracted it. If the medical professionals treating your son were negligent, you should take note of any instances where perhaps there was a delay in recognising that your son had contracted the infection, if your son was inappropriately treated or if the wrong antibiotics were administered. If any of these scenarios apply to your son, you should make sure to inform your solicitor upon consulting with them.
Claiming compensation for an infection after an operation can be a complicated process, therefore it is advisable that you seek legal advice from a professional solicitor rather than rely on the general advice provided in this article. To find out if your son has a claim that is worth pursuing, you should contact a solicitor who has experience in dealing with medical negligence claims at the first possible moment.