Posted: August 10th, 2018
Following the initiation of several thalidomide compensation claims, an official hearing has been adjourned at the High Court until November to allow for additional case management.
German drug manufacturer Grünenthal GmbHT,introduced Thalidomide as a sedative in Germany in 1957. They are now are facing 26 compensation cases taken against them, their Irish distributors TP Whelehan Son & Co, and the Ministers for Health and Environment. All parties deny the claims that have been made against them.
Allegations have been made stating that the drug inflicted deformities on unborn children when it was administered to pregnant mothers. The claims have been made in relation to incidents that took place in the 1960s. Due to this the High Court is currently reviewing whether the cases are statute-barred.
At the High Court the cases were brought before Mr Justice Seamus Noonan, who has stated that he is unhappy with “the slow pace” of the proceedings. Judge Noonan issued rulings to deal with a number of requests made by the defendants regarding certain aspects of their compensation claims.
The defendants claim that they need additional information from the plaintiffs in order to fully deal with the claims that are being taken against them. The judge concurred with this assertion and said that the details should be provided before the case is back before the court for further case management on 7 November. Judge Noonan added that the plaintiffs had a right to ask for discover documents from the State as part of their compensation action.
In a previous statement read out to the High Court, a representative for Grünenthal said the firm iss “deeply sorry for what happened to those affected by the thalidomide tragedy. It’s important for us that we engage in efforts to improve the situations of those who are still living with the impact of these latter effects. We set up the Grünenthal Foundation to provide benefits in kind and financing for individual projects for those affected. Since its establishment, the Grünenthal Foundation has also approved more than 1,000 applications for individualised support in Germany and internationally.”
Posted: August 16th, 2013
The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) has published a report in which it finds that the majority of claims for GP negligence are made due to a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis.
The report – “The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” was published recently in the British Medical Journal after the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin had studied more than 7,000 claims for GP negligence and negligence by other front-line health practitioners around the world.
The objective of the report was to establish which areas of primary care in Ireland should receive special attention when it came to developing educational strategies and risk management mechanisms for GPs and front-line healthcare practitioners – for example doctors working in accident and emergency departments.
The key findings of the report were:-
- Compensation claims for a misdiagnosis or for a delayed diagnosis were the most common reasons for claims for GP negligence in Ireland
- The errors most frequently cited in missed diagnosis claims for GP negligence were cancer and heart attacks for adults and meningitis for children
- The annual prevalence of claims for GP negligence for missed diagnosis or delayed diagnosis appears to be on the increase
The head researcher for the report – Dr Emma Wallace – admitted that reviewing claims for GP negligence may not have been a suitable substitute for accurately identifying “adverse effects” in primary care, but did point out that because of the fear of litigation GPs and front-line healthcare professionals were practising more defensively.
She found that more patients are being referred by GPs more often to consultants – potentially delaying an accurate diagnosis – because of the growing number of compensation claims for GP negligence, and that medical practitioners, against whom claims are made, are often subject to increased levels of stress which reduces their effectiveness to make an accurate diagnosis and places patients at a higher risk of suffering an avoidable deterioration of an existing condition.
Dr Wallace said that the issues identified in the report should provide an insight into the nature of adverse events in GP´s surgeries and hospital outpatients´ departments and, with better educational strategies and risk management mechanisms, subsequently reduce the number of claims for GP negligence and improve the standard of healthcare provided by front-line health practitioners.