• Contact Us

  • Contact Us

  • In the recent High Court case of Monica Corrigan –v- HSEhttp://bit.ly/p9EB0g , the Plaintiff, who was an inpatient at the Psychiatric Unit at Roscommon County Hospital claimed compensation for personal injuries sustained as a result of a fall in circumstances where she had fallen previously in the hospital premises and where it was claimed that she should have been given one-to-one nursing care.

    The Plaintiff`s Claim was dismissed. In considering the applicable law Ms Justice Irvine saw no need to go further than to state that the law in this regard remains as first encapsulated by Finlay C.J. in his decision in Dunne v. The National Maternity Hospital [1989] I.R. 91 at 109 where he stated as follows:-

    “1. The true test for establishing negligence in diagnosis or treatment on the part of a medical practitioner is whether he has been proved to be guilty of such failure as no medical practitioner of equal specialist or general status and skill would be guilty of if acting with ordinary care.

    2. If the allegation of negligence against a medical practitioner is based on proof that he deviated from a general and approved practice, that will not establish negligence unless it is also proved that the course he did take was one which no medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill would have followed had he been taking the ordinary care required from a person of his qualifications.

    3. If a medical practitioner charged with negligence defends his conduct by establishing that he followed a practice which was general, and which was approved of by his colleagues of similar specialisation and skill, he cannot escape liability if in reply the plaintiff establishes that such practice has inherent defects which ought to be obvious to any person giving the matter due consideration.

    4. An honest difference of opinion between doctors as to which is the better of two ways of treating a patient does not provide any ground for leaving a question to the jury as to whether a person who has followed one course rather than the other has been negligent.

    5. It is not for a jury (or for a judge) to decide which of two alternative courses of treatment is in their (or his) opinion preferable, but their (or his) function is merely to decide whether the course of treatment followed, on the evidence, complied with the careful conduct of a medical practitioner of like specialisation and skill to that professed by the defendant.

    6. If there is an issue of fact, the determination of which is necessary for the decision as to whether a particular medical practice is or is not general and approved within the meaning of these principles, that issue must in a trial held with a jury be left to the determination of the jury.”

    These principles still form the basis for consideration of any Medical / Clinical Negligence Claim which is being considered. One must ask whether the failure to provide medical care is “such a failure as no medical practitioner of equal specialist or general status and skill would be guilty of if acting with ordinary care”?  If this question cannot be answered positively then a claimant must seriously consider whether they proceed with a Medical Negligence Claim. Such Claims can be extremely expensive. They should only be taken after due consideration and after advice from a solicitor experienced in issuing Medical Negligence Claims.

    For further information visit https://www.morganmcmanus.com/litigation/medical_negligence.html or email bmorgan@morganmcmanus.ie