Compensation Claims for an Item Left Inside after an Operation

I would like to know why the Injuries Board will not assess compensation claims for an item left inside after an operation when it is a clear case of negligence.

Answer:

Although it might appear that an item left inside after an operation is a clear case of negligence, the Injuries Board Ireland will not assess compensation claims for an item left inside after an operation for a series of reasons.

Assuming that you have recently discovered that an item was left inside you after an operation, you would first have to establish who was responsible for leaving the item inside of you. It is not sufficient to name the hospital at which you underwent surgery in a claim for an item left inside after an operation, as the individual concerned may not have been an employee of the hospital.

If the individual was identified in your application for assessment, it then has to be shown that their error of leaving an item inside of you was negligent “at the time and in the circumstances”. For example, if you were experiencing complications during your surgery and the person responsible for removing the item stopped what they were doing to save your life – would that be considered negligent?

Thirdly – and probably most importantly – you cannot make compensation claims for an item left inside after an operation if you have not suffered an injury or the deterioration of an existing condition – without an injury, there can be no claim for injury compensation. Medical negligence alone – no matter how serious – does not qualify you to make a claim for an item left inside after an operation.

Even if you have sustained an avoidable injury due to the confirmed negligence of a known medical practitioner, the Injuries Board will still decline your application for assessment as how much compensation for an item left inside after an operation you may be entitled to can vary considerably according to the nature and consequences of your injury. Whereas, for example, with a broken finger there is a benchmark compensation range which would apply irrespective of how your finger was broken, injuries sustained due to an item being left inside after an operation can range from practically nothing to fatal.

Therefore, it would be in your best interests to discuss the injury you sustained due to an item being left inside of you after an operation with a solicitor. The solicitor will want to know how you came to discover it was there, what consequences it has made to your quality of life and – also importantly – how long ago you discovered the medical mistake. The Statute of Limitations allows you two years from the “date of knowledge” that you have sustained an injury in which to make compensation claims for an item left inside after an operation, so it is advisable that you speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.