The term medical negligence is sometimes referred to as clinical negligence and is a term that is used to cover a wide variety of problems arising out of clinical care.

It is used to describe a mistake made by a medical professional that no reasonably qualified professional would make, which has caused a problem or added to an existing one. Cases can also involve a failure to explain the possible consequence of a particular procedure or the failure to obtain a formal consent to a particular treatment.

In very serious cases the allegations against a clinical physician may be sufficient to justify a complaint of professional misconduct to the professional’s governing body, such as the Irish Medical Council, who have various sanctions available. If it is possible to show that a reasonable and competent body of medical opinion would have acted in the same way, then the care is not considered negligent.

For the purpose of pursuing a claim it is essential that all the relevant clinical records be obtained. In most cases, these include not only the hospital records, but also the general practitioner records. Potential claimants will be asked to sign authorities to have these records released. It is absolutely essential with these kind of cases that a solicitor obtains an appropriate clinical expert. Sometimes it is necessary to instruct more than one expert, ranging from striking off the doctor concerned or ordering that he or she must go for further training.

“Causation” also needs to be proven. it needs to be established that but for the error on the part of the doctors(s) and/or hospital(s) the injury and/or poor result would not have occurred. If this cannot be proven, there is no case in Medical Negligence.

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