My daughter was given the wrong medicine by a nurse in hospital and suffered severe kidney damage. How can I claim compensation for the mistake?
Your daughter should certainly be entitled to compensation for being given the wrong medicine by a nurse in hospital, as this appears to be a clear case of medical negligence. The administration of the wrong medication represents a serious breach in the duty of care owed to your daughter by the hospital.
The Statute of Limitations places a strict time limit on making wrong medication injury claims, which is two years from the date that the injury was diagnosed. However, when a child is injured due to a medication error in a hospital, the claims period does not commence until the child becomes a legal adult, as children are not permitted to take legal action to recover compensation for a personal injury.
However, you are entitled to make a claim for a medication error in a hospital on your daughter’s behalf by acting as her ‘next friend’, in which case the claim will not have to be delayed. The first step to take is to write an official letter of complaint to the HSE to report the mistake made by the nurse so that an investigation can be conducted.
You should not rely on the hospital administrator to involve the HSE; so even if you have already made a complaint at the hospital you must still write to the HSE. The HSE is obliged to respond to your complaint within five working days, and to conduct an investigation within thirty days.
The next step to take is to consult a personal injury solicitor to discuss making a claim and to start the legal process of recovering compensation for your daughter’s injury. There are a number of procedures that must be completed before claims for hospital medication errors can be filed so you should speak with a solicitor as soon as possible, and you should not wait until the HSE responds to your complaint before seeking legal advice.
A solicitor will conduct an independent investigation of the case and, when this stage of the claim for a hospital medication error has been completed, an application will be made to the courts to have you appointed as a ‘next friend’.
If sufficient evidence can be collected to prove that your daughter was given the wrong medicine by a nurse in hospital, the hospital’s insurance company may be willing to settle the case without litigation being required. However, any settlement offer must be authorised by the courts to ensure that it is appropriate.
When successful wrong medication injury claims are made by a litigation friend on behalf of a child, the compensation award is held by the courts until the victim reaches the age of consent, after which a judge will order the payment to be released directly to the victim.
If there is a need for a proportion of the compensation to be released to cover medical expenses or other costs that have been incurred, an application can be made to the courts to release a percentage of the compensation award to a parent or legal guardian, and a solicitor will make the necessary applications should this be required.