Receiving a diagnosis of Hepatitis C can be extremely worrying and stressful for the individual diagnosed and their family and loved ones.
In part, this is due to the general lack of understanding of Hepatitis C, including how it occurred, the short, medium and long-term implications for the health and life of the individual, and their prognosis. Where Hepatitis C has been passed due to medical error, in some cases it may be possible to bring a claim against the negligent party.
What is Hepatitis C?
Hepatitis C is a virus within the blood which, if not managed, can cause liver damage. Over time the damage to the liver may eventually impair its ability to function normally. There are believed to be between 20,000 and 30,000 people in Ireland with the condition. Hepatitis C is passed by contact with contaminated blood, or other bodily fluids from an infected person. Symptoms may include lethargy, a high temperature, abdominal pain, joint aches and pains, loss of appetite, and nausea. Psychological symptoms may also include memory impairment, anxiety, depression, and mood swings. Treatment is usually in the form of medication designed to target the virus, with the exact drug based on the strain of Hepatitis C particular to the patient (there are six known strains). With timely and effective treatment, the effects of the Hepatitis C virus can be significantly controlled.
Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Scheme
The Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Act, 1997 and the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Amendment Act, 2002 provide statutory legal protection relating to the administration of Human Immunoglobulin Anti-D, and the provision of a blood transfusion within the Republic of Ireland. Those infected with Hepatitis C or HIV may be able to seek recourse as a result of Hepatitis C medical negligence. If the person has died in a situation where the virus caused by medical negligence was a significant contributory factor to their death, the spouse, children, carers, or any dependant of the deceased may be able to bring a claim.
For more information on the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Scheme, please phone Avril Scally at 01 644 5800 or email [email protected]
What might constitute Hepatitis C medical negligence?
Medical professionals, including GPs, have a duty of care to protect your health, however, they may be considered negligent if they fail to:
- Make a correct or timely diagnosis
- Spot the signs and symptoms of Hepatitis C
- Carry out the necessary tests for Hepatitis C
- Inform you if you receive a positive result
- Refer to you a specialist
- Provide the correct medication
- Monitor your progress and make corrective action as needed
- Protect you from contaminated blood or other infected agents
If you are unsure if the circumstances that led to you becoming infected with Hepatitis C amount to medical negligence, our team of Hepatitis and HIV medical negligence Solicitors will be able to advise you. They will listen to the details of your case and provide an honest assessment of your case, and whether you may be able to seek legal recourse.
What might a claim for Hepatitis C cover?
By bringing a claim for Hepatitis C, you may be eligible for:
General damages relate to the pain and suffering, personal injury and loss of expectation of life or happiness which an infected person suffered during their lifetime. Upon death, this award may be divided among the dependants as the Tribunal feels is just.
Special damages include any expenses which have been incurred to date, or those which might reasonably be expected in the future, as a result of Hepatitis C. This might include costs for medical care and equipment to enable everyday living. It may also provide recourse in the event that the individual affected is unable to work.
Lavelle Partners has represented and secured awards for a number of clients and dependants in their applications under the scheme. Applications must be brought on an individual basis. Persons infected may bring claims as necessary during their lifetime with respect to damages and care afforded.
Can I bring a claim for Hepatitis C caused by medical negligence?
To bring a claim for Hepatitis C due to medical negligence, it will be necessary to provide evidence that:
- The standard of care you received fell below that of a competent physician of the same level, and;
- This negligence caused damage or injury.
To prove your case, we will compile evidence including medical records, and where necessary, seek expert medical opinion.
How Lavelle Partners can assist you in bringing a claim
- Lavelle Partners have successfully managed many cases of Hepatitis C due to medical negligence under the Hepatitis C Compensation Tribunal Scheme.
- Our personal injury team, headed by partner, Avril Scally, who herself has over 15 years’ experience in medical negligence claims, place client care at the centre of everything they do.
- From the first moment you speak to one of our solicitors, we will listen to your case carefully and with empathy and will only recommend advancing your case if we believe you have a valid case.
- We have both the legal expertise and understanding of the real-life challenges faced by individuals and their families following such events.
- Our solicitors will manage the process entirely on your behalf; compiling the information necessary for your case, including medical notes and managing the submission of your medical negligence claim.
- We will answer any subsequent questions and/or provide further information if required.
By allowing us to handle your claim on your behalf, you can focus on what is most important, your recovery and care, or that of your family member or loved one.
For further information on making a claim following medical negligence resulting in Hepatitis C in Ireland, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at [email protected]
*In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement. This statement is made in compliance with RE.8 of SI 518 of 2002.