Sepsis Claims in Ireland: Can I bring a claim for Sepsis?

Sepsis Claims in Ireland: Can I bring a claim for Sepsis?

You may be able to claim against the HSE or private healthcare providers if your sepsis diagnosis was missed – for example, if doctors ignored test results or sent you home when you had symptoms. The HSE have published a National Clinical Guideline for the Management of Sepsis.

Sepsis is a rare complication of an infection that can lead to multiple organ failure and death if it is not diagnosed and treated quickly. Both instances of severe sepsis and septic shock – when you experience a dangerously low blood pressure drop due to sepsis – are medical emergencies.  The HSE release a National Sepsis Report which outlines the status of sepsis in Ireland based on data extracted from the Hospital Inpatient Enquiry (HIPE) dataset for 2021.

Sepsis misdiagnosis and a delay to treatment by medical staff can lead to a claim for medical negligence. People who recover from sepsis can be left with long-term health problems, including post-sepsis syndrome. It can result in life-changing injuries, including amputation.

A successful sepsis medical negligence claim can secure compensation you can use to pay for rehabilitation and care needs. If one of your relatives has died because of misdiagnosed or mistreated sepsis their dependants may also be able to bring a claim for compensation.

What types of Sepsis claims can be brought?

Early diagnosis and treatment of sepsis is vital to preventing deterioration and permanent injury, aiding prompt recovery and patient survival. Accepted thinking is that if sepsis is diagnosed and treated in the first hour following presentation, a patient has more than an 80 per cent survival rate. After the sixth hour, this plummets to around 30 per cent.

  • Failure to investigate symptoms
  • Failure to refer urgently for treatment
  • Failure to refer to a specialist for investigation or treatment
  • Failure to act on presenting symptoms
  • Failure to act on test results
  • Failure to take your medical history into account
  • Failure to conduct an adequate examination
  • Failure to diagnose the condition

NICE Guideline 51 applies to primary, secondary and tertiary care and sets out what is required of health professionals in terms of examination, tests and investigations that should be undertaken where sepsis is suspected and the medical treatment that should be commenced.

What is a Sepsis Misdiagnosis Claim?

Sepsis can be a side effect of a long stay in the hospital, when bacteria enter the body and causes blood poisoning. If medical malpractice has led you to contract sepsis, or if your doctor has misdiagnosed you, we can help you make a compensation claim.

What are the long-term side effects of Sepsis?

If you’re diagnosed with sepsis early, it’s unlikely that there will be any lasting consequences. However, if it’s not treated, you may develop severe sepsis, which can reduce blood supply to tissues and affect your internal organs. You may also experience septic shock. Both of these are potentially life-threatening.

Some people experience post-sepsis syndrome. This causes a general feeling of being unwell, including excessive tiredness, pain, changes in vision and dry skin. It may also leave sufferers feeling anxious, and can last for up to 18 months.

Can I bring a claim a loved one who suffered an injury or died from Sepsis?

It’s a tragic situation and we understand that nothing can replace the loss you’ve suffered. However, as a family member, you may be able to claim for fatal sepsis compensation.

Sometimes a loved one may suffer a severe case of sepsis that results in irreparable physical harm – such as brain damage.  If this means they are unable to seek sepsis compensation themselves, then you can do it on their behalf.

Whom Can I Claim Against?

In private care, the Medical Practitioner is usually self-employed and will carry their own insurance.    In public hospital settings the practitioner and the hospital will likely be covered by the Clinical Indemnity Scheme.

The Medical Practitioners Act 2007  includes sets out the legally recognised medical practitioners in They are required to practice to the highest medical standard.  In medical negligence actions, you will have to pursue your claim through a solicitor, as it will not go through the Injuries Board.

How long do I have to bring a claim?

The time limit for a medical negligence claim is generally two years from the time of the alleged negligence. However, there are exceptions to this rule. Read on to find out more about the statute of limitations in respect of medical negligence claims.

Exceptions for Medical Negligence Legal Time Limits in Ireland

A patient may not be aware on the date of the alleged negligence that any negligence occurred. The person then arguably has two years less one day from the date of discovery of the alleged negligence. This could, for example, occur at a follow-up appointment when the patient discovers information about the origin of the negligence. Or indeed, it may not occur until the patient is in possession of a copy of his or her medical records. It is important to note that the date of discovery is the date the victim has constructive knowledge of the alleged medical negligence, in other words, when the victim should have known about it.

How to Make a Claim for mismanagement of Sepsis?

If you are unhappy with the treatment that you have received under the HSE or a private medical practitioner, you may wish to contact a solicitor who is an expert in the field of medical negligence to investigate your case.  You should always consult with a solicitor who has expertise in the area of medical negligence as this is a complex area of law, and you should be led by someone with expertise.

  1. The first thing we will do is arrange for you to come in and meet us for a consultation. We will take down the history of treatment and your complaints.   We will then advise  you whether it is worth pursing a claim.
  2.  The next thing we will do is take up a copy of your medical records. We have the experience and expertise to review the records and give you a preliminary opinion on whether you are likely to establish a case of negligence.
  3. If we are of the opinion that there may have been negligence on the part of the practitioner who treated you we will instruct an independent expert to carry out a report to consider whether the treatment that you have received is below the standard of care that should normally be applied.

Establishing Negligence

Medical negligence means that the treatment that you received is below the standard of care that one would ordinarily expect to see that a patient should receive from a medical practitioner.  If the independent expert report supports this  opinion then you are entitled to bring a claim for negligence, however it is also necessary to show that you suffered an injury because of the negligence, and this is known as causation.

Establishing Causation

It must then be considered that due to the negligent medical treatment that you have received your recovery has been delayed or you have suffered further injury and sustained a loss.  The Expert Report will also need to support this.

Before issuing proceedings in a medical negligence claim, we must have a positive independent expert report from a practitioner of equal specialisation who finds the treatment that you were provided with fell below an acceptable standard of care, and because of this you suffered an injury.

What happens next?

When we issue proceedings the insurer for the HSE and/or Medical Practitioner  will instruct solicitors.   We may need to take up further reports, on your condition and prognosis.   With very serious injuries, it will be necessary to consider whether you are still able to work, whether you can still carry on with all of your previous activities of daily living.  We will advise on the appropriate Vocational Representation expert who will assess you and provide us with a Vocational Report if you are claiming for future loss of earnings. We may instruct an Occupational Therapist, a Care Expert, a Psychiatrist if the injury has had a psychological impact on you.   It may even be necessary to instruct Architects in situations where the injury is such that your home is no longer suitable to you because of your injuries.

Will I have to go to court if I bring a medical negligence claim?

The majority of these cases settle outside of court.  This is because we will not proceed with a case unless we are confident that you will win and therefore settlement usually occurs without having to go to court.   However, going to court is always a possibility you must be prepared for.

How much compensation will I get for my injury?

This varies very much from case to case as it will depend on the severity of your injury, whether it is permanent, and how it has affected your life.  You can claim for general damages which is compensation for your pain and suffering, but you can also claim for special damages and these are the financial costs resulting from the injury caused. This may cover costs already incurred, such as transport, accommodation, and medical treatment, and expected future expenses such as further medical treatment and loss of earnings.  The damages you receive will be based on the precise injuries suffered, the circumstances of the case and with reference to the Personal Injuries guideline and established case law.

Medical Negligence Solicitors Ireland

We represent clients in medical negligence cases from all over Ireland and not just medical negligence cases in Dublin. We can accommodate virtual meetings if you have difficulty travelling.