A legal expert speaking at a gathering of solicitors, medical professionals and patents in September said that approximately 1,000 unnecessary deaths are caused every year in Ireland due to medical error.
Roger Murray, joint Managing Partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, said that up to 160,000 hospital visitors suffer injuries annually due to human error. Mr Murray was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence and insisted that there is “no compo culture” evident when it comes to medical negligence compensation action, saying that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.
Mr Murray, a solicitor who has been involved in a number of high-profile medical negligence compensation cases, said that he believes that not all people injured in medical incidents report it while the HSE is notified of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually. Of these 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate of less than 1.7 per cent.
He told those attending the conference that the most commonly experienced cases relate to surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).
Mr Murray stressed that while injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make errors, “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.
He called for thorough reviews when mistakes do happen, Mr Murray said he had witnessed many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death, and the results were not disseminated to appropriate staff.