All Posts in Category: Clinical Malpractice Claims

Central Criminal Court Hears Healthcare Volunteer Admit to Drugging and Sexually Abusing Teenage Boys

At the Central Criminal Court a Kildare man, who cannot be identified so as to safeguard the identify of the victims, has pleaded guilty to oral rape of one boy and abusing another during 2018

The man (29) in question was a member of a voluntary paramedic organisation who was accused of drugging the boys with a powerful pain relief substance. He also pleaded guilty to meeting the child with the aim of sexual exploitation and aiding and abetting in the production of child pornography.

He will be sentenced on Wednesday. Since the complainants first made accusations the defendant was suspended from his volunteer role and also from a nursing course he was completing at the time which included a placement at a national children’s hospital.

The court was informed that one of the sexual assaults took place after the man forced the boy (15) to use an oxygen mask to inhale the drug before abusing him. A subsequent sexual assault took place when the boy was, again, unconscious and a different individual filmed the event using the camera on his phone.

In relation to another incident, involving a different child, the man pleaded guilty to sexual assault and sexual exploitation. The incident took place on May 18th, 2018 at a place in south Dublin and in the Wicklow mountains.

There was as additional guilty plea in relation the theft of medicinal items, including a vial of Penthrox and a carbon dioxide chamber from Naas race course during 2018. Penthrox is an analgesic normally prescribed by medical practitioners, the Defence Forces, ambulance paramedics, sports clubs and surf lifesavers to counter the effects of pain. It is administered by placing a vial of the medicine on a pipe-like device called a green whistle, which is then used to inhale the drug. Penthrox includes an active ingredient known as Methoxyflurane.

The Judge was informed that on two separate occasions the individual called to the house where his victims resided, driven by a different man, to pick them up. Following this he forced them to take the drug by placing the whistle device onto the victim’s mouth or the oxygen mask over their mouth. During both incidents the man’s victims awoke from unconsciousness to discover that they were being sexually assaulted.

Medical testimony was provided which informed the court that Penthrox should not be administered to those who are not yet 18 years of age. Additionally it was revealed that the man had modified the whistle device to remove a filter. Dr Aidan McGoldrick provided testimony which said that this modification  would result in the drug actually being four times stronger and lead to cases of memory loss. The Judge was informed that the defendant’s Internet search history included searches like “nitrous oxide side effects”, “Penthrox and knock out”, and “how much Methoxyflurane does it take to knock you out”.

The mother of one of the victim’s provided an impact statement which informed the court that her son has had difficulties in school and had to go to counselling since the attacks took place. He was, she said, too embarrassed to come to court to give his own statement. She informed the court that, due to the defendant abusing his position of responsibility to gain access to controlled drugs and carry out the sexual assault, her family will be haunted for the remainder of their lives.

Counsel for the defence, James Dwyer SC, made a  plea for mitigation on behalf of his client, saying that the individual regrets his actions and the damage he inflicted on the boys. Despite informing Gardai, after he was arrested, that one of the boys had initiated the sex and  been coherent at all times, the defendant said he accepted the victims’ record of events

Sentencing will take place on Wednesday.

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€12m Hospital Negligence Settlement Approved for Girl (9)

Yesterday at the High Court a €12m hospital negligence compensation settlement was approved for a nine-year-old girl who sustained brain damage as, it was claimed, she was not admitted quickly enough after she contracted bacterial meningitis.

The medical negligence compensation action was taken against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by Cabrini Fallon on behalf of her daughter Robyn Kilgallon in relation to the treatment she was administered with at Sligo General Hospital on February 1, 2011, when she was only 10 months old.

The court heard Robyn’s parents took her to the hospital following a referral from a GP who was concerned the child had a viral infection. Even though Robyn was showing symptoms such as a high temperature and vomiting, had little control of her movement and had eyes rolling in the back of her head, she was sent home by a junior doctor as, her parents were told,  the outcomes of Robyn’s blood tests did not suggest that there was anything that appeared to be a serious worry.

However, when Robyn’s condition did not subsequently improve and she was readmitted to the hospital on the morning of February 2. At this time the young girl was very ill, unresponsive and had a seizure. She was taken to an intensive care unit where she was incubated. Not long after this she (Robyn) was reviews and her condition was deemed to be a serious nature to the extent that she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for specialist treatment.

Robyn now suffers from significant development delay and experiences difficulty communicating with others and walking.

In the legal action it was claimed the HSE had been guilty of medical negligence as Robyn had not been admitted and treated her for the suspected bacterial infection. Furthermore it was alleged that this failure to admit Robyn, of Caltragh Road, Sligo lead to her suffering brain damage.

The court was informed that Robyn’s mother and her father, Declan Kilgallon, are hoping to move to a house which will be more suitable to the restrictions that Robyn experiences due to their injuries. The family solicitor, Donnacha Anhold, read out a statement in court on behalf of the family. It said Robyn had been a perfectly healthy young child at the time that she was brought to Sligo General. Mr Arnold added that the HSE has issued an apology to the Kilgallon family last week, for which the family was extremely grateful.

He went on to say that he family had not been informed of the measures that the HSE plans to implement to prevent something this from happening in the future. There has been nothing produced so far in relation to this,

Liability in the action was admitted in the hospital negligence legal action and presiding Judge Justice Cross said he was satisfied to give his approval for the settlement figure agreed.

 

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€1.5m Settlement for Family of Woman Kept on Life Support over Eighth Amendment Worries

The family of a deceased young mother who was pregnant and kept alive on life support due to doctors’ concerns about the Eighth Amendment have been awarded a €1.5m settlement including expenses.

Ms Perie was pronounced brain dead in late November 2014 at 26 years of age when she was 15 weeks pregnant. She had been kept alive on life support for an additional four weeks after this due to doctors’ concerns about the implications of the Eighth Amendment – since repealed – for the foetus. Life support was discontinued after her family obtained High Court orders to that end on December 26, 2014.

Of the final settlement, that was awarded for failings in care at Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar, €1.3m will go to Natasha Perie’s two children, now aged 11 and nine. Her father Peter Perie later took proceedings in which the main claim was for damages for his two grandchildren, the girl now aged 11 and the nine-year-old boy, in relation to the loss of their mother’s care. Both children, who were born to separate men, had been residing with their mother in Mr Perie’s home but, since her death, have been living with their respective fathers.

The HSE admitted liability in the case but argued the extent of damages sought, some €3.2m. The State Claims Agency which had offered some €1.5m on behalf of the HSE. Nervous shock claims by seven family members were previously settled and Ms Perie’s daughter received €150,000 in those proceedings.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy heard the larger fatal dependency case, beginning yesterday, after a mediation failed to secure agreement and the €1.5m offer made earlier this week was not accepted.

An apology had been issued by the HSE for the family last November from the Mullingar hospital and the HSE in relation to issues with Ms Perie’s care at the hospital in late 2014. She was pronounced brain dead days after her admission there on November 27, 2014, but was then kept on life support.

Evidence was presented to Justice Murphy, from members of his extended family and the children’s fathers and relevant medics, in relation to the impact on the children of seeing their mother on life support. Dr Frances Colreavy said Ms Perie’s eyes did not shut properly. She said nurses informed her the children, especially the then six-year-old girl, were upset, with both refusing to touch their mother. The condition of the girl was referred to as “inconsolable”. A care expert also told the Court that both children would require live-in nannies until they left home. The judge expressed reservations about that and certain other aspects of the legal action.

However yesterday morning, following mediation talks, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was asked by Jonathan Kilfeather SC, instructed by Gillian O’Connor solicitor, of Michael Boylan Litigation, to approve the €1.5m offer.

 

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Medical Negligence Compensation Payouts of €268m Made by State Claims Agency in last two years

The overall amount of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in relation to medical negligence claims totals over half a billion euro in the past two years.

New figures released by Minister for Health Simon Harris show that the amount of compensation paid out by the State Claims Agency (SCA) in 2018 was €268.45m for medical negligence cases – an increase of €18.6 million – or 7.5% – on the €249.77m paid out in 2017. This brings the total amount of compensation for medical negligence paid out in 2017-18 to €518.2m.

The figures were provided by the State Claims Agency (SCA)  in response to a a written Dáil question by Fianna Fáil’s Finance spokesman, Michael McGrath. It also reveals that the highest sum paid out last year under medical negligence was €15.5m in relation to a cerebral palsy case compensation claim.

Cases linked to birth negligence or cerebral palsy accounted for seven of the top ten medical negligence payouts in 2018. The figures release indicate that, in the seven cerebral palsy cases, a total of €60.3m compensation was paid out in order to provide adequate treatment for the individuals concerned for the remainder of their lives.

The remainder of the top ten was made up of cases that in the top ten payments concerned a pay-out of €6.3 million for a clinical procedure at surgery and a separate payout of €5.9m under the same category.

The lowest payout in the top ten was €4.37 million paid out concerning a clinical procedure in the Gynaecology service.

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‘Delay’ on CT Scan for Bleed on Brain Assault Victim Leads to €750k Medical Negligence Compensation Award

A individual who took a medical negligence compensation action against a hospital in relation to the care he was given after he was assaulted has settled his High Court damages action for €750,000.

45-year-old Francis Cunningham, who is now restricted to a wheelchair, had a wound on the back of his head when he had been taken to St James’s Hospital in Dubln after the assault, which took place in 2010. His legal representative, barrister Oisin Quinn SC, argued that Mr Cunningham, who was found to have bleeding on the brain after having a CT scan, should have had the scan earlier. Is this course of action had been followed he would have had brain surgery earlier and, more than likely, he would have been able to walk and live independently

Mr Cunningham, of Casement Park, Finglas, Dublin, via his brother James, of the same address, took the failure to act compensation case against St James’s Hospital over the tretment he was given on October 2, 2010, following an assault that had happened nearby.

It was claimed by Mr Cunningham’s legal team that:

  1. There was a failure to properly examine Mr Cunningham when he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
  2. There was an alleged failure to treat him with proper urgency, particularly due to his head injuries.
  3. There was a failure to conduct any suitable observation or monitoring of his condition.

It was noted that when Mr Cunningham was taken to the hospital A&E at 3.26pm that his primary complaint was alcohol and his secondary complaint a wound. Two hours later when he was further examined, it was noted Mr Cunningham was intoxicated and not verbalising and had a wound on the back of the head.

It was alleged that a CT scan three hours later indicated bleeding on the brain and he was taken to a different hospital for brain surgery. It was claimed at this stage his clinical condition had greatly deteriorated.

St James’s Hospital accepted that it was in breach of duty in that an examination of Mr Cunningham at 5.20pm should have resulted in a request for a CT brain scan to be conducted at that point i time. All other claims were denied by the defendants.

In approving the medical negligence compensation settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was an appropriate amount and he wished Mr Cunningham well for the future.

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Majority of €28,000 Distress for Wrongful Death Compensation Paid to Niece of 89-year-old who Allegedly Died Due to Bacterial Infection

The bulk of a €28,000 distress for wrongful death compensation payment is being made to the niece of an 89-year-old woman who allegedly died due to a bacterial infection.

Presiding Judge Justice Garrett Simons ruled that, once €7,890 for funeral expenses is accounted for, the niece should get the remainder of the compensation pay out.

The niece submitted a fatal injuries claim against the nursing home her aunt had been living in, and also a Dublin hospital shortly, before she passed away in 2009. The overall total of the claim being €33,290.

Her Aunt, allegedly died due to a bacterial infection which causes diarrhoea and colitis. Officially, the coroner recorded death as due to “health care-acquired” clostridium difficile infection.

Prior to her death, her aunt resided in a nursing home up until a month before her passing. At this time, in October 2009, she was admitted to a Dublin hospital. She was sent back to the nursing home in early November before being returned to the hospital on November 23 shortly before she passed away later that day.

Her niece took the wrongful death compensation action against the nursing home and the hospital pleading due to severe mental distress due to the death. The defence fully contested the claims that were made.

A settlement offer of €28,000 was made and accepted in 2015 and the High Court was then asked to rule on whether the offer was reasonable. However, as the deceased woman’s sister died in the interim, August 2016, the court also had to rule whether the settlement should go entirely to the niece or to the aunt’s sister. This was due to the fact that, as a surviving dependent at the time the woman died, the sister was entitled to a share of the solatium.

Mr Justice Simons said that he  believed the best course of action in this case would be to direct the full amount of compensation to be paid to the niece as sole surviving statutory dependent. He ruled the €28,000 settlement was reasonable and after the €7,890 has been paid out for the funeral, the balance of the stress in relation to wrongful death should go to the niece.

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Family of 52-Year Woman Who Died Following Hernia Operation Awarded €300,000

Yesterday at the High Court a private medical clinic apologised, for the failures in the care given to a 52-year old woman who died from sepsis after developing a rare infection following a hernia operation, as part of a €300,000 settlement to her family of the deceased Ms Susan McGee

Ms McGee, a mother of two, died eleven days after the hernia operation at the Hermitage Clinic in Dublin on July 24, 2013. Ms McGee had contracted a rare Clostridium Difficile infection in her bowel in the aftermath of the hernia operation. A verdict of medical misadventure was returned at the inquest into the death of Ms McGee.

Ms McGee’s daughter, Melissa Barry, spoke to the court revealing that the death of her mother had a significant effect on the family. She said: “Our mother is missed every day by her entire family and a large circle of friends. We owed it to our amazing mam to seek answers and justice. We hope she can now rest in peace while we can rebuild the rest of our lives.”

Ms Barry went on to say: “The Hermitage Medical Clinic has reassured us new procedures are in place for the handover of patients and we hope lessons have been learned. Patients need to be assured that details of their medical condition and care plan are properly communicated  if they are being put in to the hands of a different medical professional. Hospital staff must also listen to and act on the concerns of a patient’s family.”

Melissa Barry, Grange Rise, Stamullen, Co Meath and her brother John McGee , Bretton Woods, Skerries Road, Rush , Co Dublin had taken the medical negligence compensation case against the Hermitage and consultant surgeons Arnold Hill and Colm Power in relation to the manner of her treatment at clinic in 2013.

The High Court was told that the defendants accepted liability after McGee experienced complications following hernia surgery in July 2013. Ms McGee’s surgeon was on annual leave when she was readmitted to the clinic after becoming ill. The court was told that another doctor was not available to administer care to her as he was on duty in a separate hospital and a third doctor was not advised of Ms McGee’s condition. Following some attempted emergency surgery, she passed away on 22 July 2013.

In approving the medical negligence compensation settlement Mr Justice Robert Eagar offered his condolences to the McGee family.

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Daughter of HIV Victim wins Appeal on Compensation Claim

The rejection of an award for psychological suffering and shock by the Hepatitis C compensation tribunal to the daughter of a man who died from HIV infection from contaminated blood products has been overturned by the High Court.

Mr Justice Bernard Barton said it was hard to correlate making an award to the man’s spouse in 2009 in relation to what was referred to as the “horrific” circumstances of the death and then not make a similar finding in respect of his daughter using the same reasoning. He ordered the matter be sent back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.

The daughter, now aged 44, who was in her teens when her father died and had appealed to the High Court against the Minister for Health and Children, with the Hepatitis C and HIV Compensation Tribunal as a notice party, over the ruling by the tribunal in February 2015 to dismiss her claim. Her father was one of more than 100 haemophilia sufferers who was given a blood transfusions that was contaminated. Due to this he contracted HIV and died from complications with the disease in 1989, aged just 40 at the time of his passing.

Nine years ago the tribunal made an award, in 2009. to his wife in relation to the trauma she suffered due to the circumstances leading up to her husband’s death. The tribunal had previously referred to his death as “one of the worst cases” before it.

Mr Justice Barton, who was presiding over the appeal filed by the daughter, said she became seriously depressed, and was taken to hospital in 2006 to be treated for the illness which she continues to suffer from. The Judge said he believed her testimony and evidence about the psychological impact that that death of her father had on her.

The judge ruled that her appeal was successful and sent the issue back to the tribunal “for assessment and award”.

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Man settles €850k Compensation Over his Wife’s Wrongful Death

Widower, Donal O’Sullivan, who took a wrongful death compensation action against a GP and the Health Service Executive after his wife died just a day after a blood test showed she had low levels of potassium, has settled his High Court compensation action for €850,000.

The court was told that mother-of-four Maureen O’Sullivan, who was in her 50s, should have been rushed to hospital after a test showed she had low levels of potassium. Due to this Mr O’Sullivan, from Crookstown Co Cork, sued GP Therese Crotty of Main Street, Ballincollig, Co Cork, and the HSE over the wrongful death of his wife on November 8, 2011.

It was alleged that on the previous November 4, Ms O’Sullivan had seen Dr Crotty as she was suffering from palpitations. A blood test was taken and taken for analysis at Cork University Hospital. On November 7 the result indicating severe hypokalaemia, a low level of potassium, was sent to the Doctor’s surgery in Ballincollig.

The GP, it is claimed, did not arrange to admit Ms O’Sullivan to hospital immediately upon learning she suffered severe hypokalaemia did not advise the patient that this is what she was suffering from.

Furthermore, it was argued that the HSE did not adequately communicate the importance of the abnormal blood test results to the doctor and that there was an absence of appropriate systems of communication. Additionally, it was further stated by Mr O’Sullivan’s legal representatives that the HSE had depended on a clerical officer to communicate the test results that they required urgent clinical attention.

In a letter read to the court, Dr Crotty and the HSE apologised for their role in the events that led to Ms O’Sullivan’s death. It addressed the O’Sullivan family on behalf of Dr Crotty saying: “I deeply regret the tragic circumstances that led to the death of your wife, mother and sister Ms Maureen O’Sullivan. I apologise unreservedly for the part I played in the events leading up to her death. I am acutely conscious of the pain and suffering which this has caused to you all.”

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Cerebral Palsy Against the HSE Settled for €1.9m

A 20-year-old woman, who suffers from cerebral palsy, has won a €1.9m interim from the HSE after the way her birth was managed.

Shauni Breen, who was born at Wexford General Hospital just 40 minutes after her healthy twin sister, suffers from cerebral palsy, spastic diplegia and is restricted to a wheelchair. The High Court was told, by Ms Breen’s Legal Representative, that the medical team present at the time did not recognise that it was a high-risk labour.

Ms Breen, who now lives in Glanmire, Co Cork, Ms Breen began the birth compensation case against the HSE due to the events at the time of her delivery on December 30, 1997. Their mother Marie Foley was taken to Wexford General Hospital at 5am on the morning in question.  Following her healthy twin sister Nicole’s  birth at 6.10am the delivery of Shauni lasted for around 40 minutes and was, allegedly, handled in a negligent manner. There was no anesthetist present or adequate supporting team present to deal with every possible eventuality.

The HSE denied these claims in the High Court and argued that management of the birth complied with standard best practice and was consistent with normal procedures in Irish maternity units at the time of the birth in 1997.

Ms Breen’s team of legal representatives claimed that Shauni was showing an  abnormal presentation prior to delivery and should have been delivered by caesarean section within 15 minutes of Nicole’s birth. However, due to issues in the delivery of Ms Breen, she had to be resuscitated and was taken to another hospital.

High Court Judge Kevin Cross approved the €1.9m cerebral palsy birth injury compensation settlement. Ms Breen will come back to court in five years’ time when her future care needs will be assessed in relation to further required costs.

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