All Posts in Category: Compensation for Surgical Complications

Vaginal Mesh Class Action Won Against Johnson & Johnson in Australia

 A long-running class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over vaginal mesh implants has been won by more than 1,350 Australian women.

It was ruled in Australia’s Federal Court J&J subsidiary Ethicon had not issued a sufficient warning to patients and surgeons in relation to the “risks” posed by the products they were using. The vaginal mesh implants were often put in place to address pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence that occurred in the aftermath of childbirth.

Some patients in the legal action said they had suffered chronic pain, bleeding and severe discomfort during sexual intercourse after having the mesh surgically implanted.

Judge Anna Katzmann ruled that much of the information the company provided about the products was “inaccurate” and at times made “false representations”. Damages will be set next year. During he ruling she said: “The risks were known, not insignificant and on Ethicon’s own admission, serious harm could ensue if they eventuated.”

Ethicon defended its record and said it would consider an appeal and released a statement which said: “Ethicon believes that the company acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of these products.”

The original claimant in the case Julie Davis said: “They have treated women essentially like guinea pigs, lied about it and done nothing to help”. This ruling comes after the Australian government  last year issuing a national apology to women affected by vaginal mesh, acknowledging decades of “agony and pain”.

The case is one of a series of lawsuits J&J faces over the products around the world. Last October, the company committed to paying almost $117m (£90.5m) to settle claims in relation to pelvic mesh in 41 US states and the District of Columbia. There are also a number of lawsuits over the product in Canada and Europe, including Ireland.

US Medical Expert says Vaginal Mesh is ‘Not Safe’

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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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Medical Negligence Compensation Settlement in Malak Thawley Legal Action

An undisclosed compensation settlement has been agreed in relation to the medical negligence involved in the death of a woman, Malak Thawley, during surgery for an ectopic pregnancy in 2016.

Her husband, Alan Thawley settled his High Court action for medical negligence compensation.

Mrs Thawley, , a teacher and a US citizen, was pregnant with her  first when she died during a surgical  procedure at the Holles Street hospital on May 8, 2016. She was 34 years old.

Mr Thawley told the court last week that the death of his partner was due to a “cascade of negligence”. His legal representative, Liam Reidy SC, said that the doctor who was responsible for the surgical procedure that resulted in Malak’s death was an inexperienced junior surgeon.

He went on to say that the negligent actions of the medics included taking the decision was taken to cool Mrs Thawley’s brain with ice and then finding that there was no ice in the hospital. Following this two doctors were sent to a close by pub to get ice.

Presiding judge, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was advised that he could strike out the case as it had been settled for compensatory damages only and aggravated or exemplary damages were not included. There were no further details of the medical negligence settlement were provided.

Alan Thawley, speaking to the press outside the Court, said that he was glad to have come to a settlement after a long and difficult process. He remarked: “There is no compensation that could replace the profound loss of my wife’s untimely and needless death”.

Mr Thawley added: “The proceedings were brought forth to expose the cascade of negligence demonstrated by the hospital”.

He will also assisting with the Department of Health’s Ministerial Inquiry to help to prevent other people suffering, as he has, going forward.

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Over 1,000 Unnecessary Deaths due to Medical Error in Ireland Annually

Roger Murray, a legal expert speaking at a medical negligence conference attended by solicitors, medical professionals and patients in early September,  said that around 1,000 unnecessary deaths happen annually every year due to medical negligence.

Mr Murray, joint Managing partner at Callan Tansey solicitors, stated that the most commonly experienced incidents relate to surgery (36 per cent) medicine (24 per cent), maternity (23 per cent) and gynaecology (7.5 per cent).

As a solicitor who has been involved in many medical negligence compensation cases, Mr Murray said that though injured patients and families do have empathy for medical professionals who make mistakes “they cannot abide is systemic and repeated errors”.

He called for thorough investigations when mistakes do happen and referred to many inquest situations where families learned that desktop reviews had been completed following a death, and the results were not disseminated to appropriate staff. A vital learning opportunity had been missed.

Mr Murray said 160,000 hospital visitors experience injuries due to human mistakes and errors. Mr Tansey was speaking at the Pathways to Progress conference on medical negligence and said that he believes that there is “no compo culture” to be witnessed when it comes to medical negligence compensation actions in Ireland, saying that what we are seeing in the legal system is just “the top of a very murky iceberg”.

He added that he feels that not all those injured in medical incidents report it. The HSE is notified of 34,170 “clinical incidents” annually and, o,f these 575 resulted in compensation claims against the HSE, a rate of less than 1.7 per cent.

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Advice about a Lip Implant Injury Compensation Claim

In order to receive legal advice relevant to your specific circumstances, speak with a solicitor about making a lip implant injury compensation claim.

If you have experienced an adverse event due to a poor standard of cosmetic surgery in Ireland, certain conditions have to be fulfilled before you can make a lip implant injury compensation claim. Having experienced an adverse event in itself is not sufficient grounds to claim compensation for a lip implant injury – particularly if you gave your informed consent prior to undergoing the procedure and were fully aware that the adverse event was a possible consequence.

Indeed, the first thing a solicitor will ask you is what information you were given before undergoing the procedure and whether you signed an agreement or contract. If so, your solicitor will need to review a copy to identify any exclusions or limits of liability. This will also help establish whether the adverse event was avoidable at the time and in the circumstances, and if your injury is attributable to a lack of skill or a lack of ability to demonstrate that skill.

If there is sufficient evidence to suggest “on the balance of probabilities” you have a lip implant injury compensation claim worth your while to pursue, your solicitor will write to the negligent cosmetic surgeon with a “Letter of Claim”. The letter will outline your injury and the consequences of your injury, explain why it is believed the injury was caused by negligence and request a proposal settlement of compensation for a lip implant injury.

An application for assessment will not be made to the Injuries Board, as lip implant injury compensation claims fall outside of their remit, and the value of your claim will be settled by negotiation once negligence has been acknowledged by the cosmetic surgeon. How much compensation for a lip implant injury you receive will depend on a number of factors including your age, whether or not the injury can be rectified and the reason for undergoing the procedure initially.

In this respect, your lip implant injury compensation claim will be unique from any other. To make sure you receive legal advice relevant to your specific circumstances, you should speak with a solicitor at the first practical opportunity.

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Woman Awarded Compensation for a Torn Artery during a Hospital Procedure

A fifty-year-old woman from Portlaoise has been awarded €855,000 compensation for a torn artery during a hospital procedure by a High Court judge.

The woman attended the Midland Regional Hospital in June 2002 for a routine diagnostic procedure to establish why she was unable to get pregnant. While she was under a general anaesthetic, a three-sided surgical instrument known as a trocar was inserted into her abdomen to allow for a laparoscopy.

However, during the insertion of the surgical instrument, the trocar punctured a vein and tore an artery, causing a significant amount of internal bleeding. A vascular surgeon was required to stop the bleeding, after which the woman spent two days on life support. As a consequence of the medical negligence, the woman continues to experience abdominal pain.

After seeking legal advice, the woman claimed compensation for a torn artery during a hospital procedure against the consultant obstetrician in charge of the procedure – Dr John Corristine – and the HSE. The defendants admitted liability for the original injury, but contested her continued abdomen pain was a consequence of the botched procedure.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross heard there was an alleged failure to ensure the equipment used for the laparoscopy procedure was in proper working order or that adequate precautions were in place to ensure the patient´s safety. He was told the woman lost eight pints of blood due to the torn artery, and that her pain and suffering is likely to persist for the rest of her life at its present level, if not worsen.

Judge Cross found that the botched medical procedure and the woman´s ongoing abdominal pain were linked. He said, although the injury was not catastrophic, the consequences of the medical negligence had significantly impaired the quality of the plaintiff´s life. Judge Cross awarded the woman €855,793 compensation for a torn artery during a hospital procedure to account for her past, present and future pain and suffering.

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Claim for the Negligent Management of Anaesthetic Resolved at High Court

A claim for the negligent management of anaesthetic, due to which a former barrister sustained an acquired brain injury, has been resolved at the High Court.

In 2014, the 46-year-old former barrister and father of two attended the Sports Surgery Clinic in Santry, Dublin, complaining of ongoing back pain. He underwent a routine cervical spine procedure; but, due to a failure to adequately manage his anaesthetic, the former barrister did not receive enough oxygen during the procedure. As a result, he suffered a hypoxic brain injury.

Due to his acquired brain injury, the former barrister now requires twenty-four hour care. Although he can react to the presence of his family, he is unable to communicate when he is in pain or needs help. Friends and colleagues set up a trust fund in order that he could be cared for in a care home, but his family hope it will be ultimately possible to provide full-time care for him in the family home in Clonee, County Meath.

A claim for the negligent management of anaesthetic was made against anaesthetist Deirdre Lohan by the former barrister´s wife on his behalf. Negligence was admitted by the anaesthetist and a settlement of compensation amounting to €7.1 million was agreed. As the claim for the negligent management of anaesthetic was made on behalf of a claimant unable to represent themselves, the settlement of the claim had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was in the claimant´s best interests.

Consequently, at the High Court this week, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the circumstances of the claimant´s injury and the consequences it had for him and his family. After hearing that the litigation process had been distressing for the family, and that they were willing to accept the offer of settlement to get the matter “done and dusted”, Judge Cross approved the settlement of the claim for the negligent management of anaesthetic – conveying his sympathy to the family for the terrible tragedy they had suffered.

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Patients Claim Compensation for Gynaecological Errors by Surgeon

Seven former patients of a surgeon recently found guilty of a poor professional performance are claiming compensation for gynaecological errors.

Last week, the Medical Council found gynaecologist Dr Peter Van Greene guilty of two counts of a poor professional performance after a complaint had been brought against him by Helen Cruise – a sixty-one year old patient who had undergone a hysterectomy procedure at the Aut Even private hospital in Kilkenny.

During the hearing of the Medical Council´s Fitness to Practise Committee, Helen and three other women who had been treated by the gynaecologist testified about the injuries they had sustained due to the doctor´s negligence. In Helen´s case, she had needed six units of blood due to excessive post-operative bleeding following a hysterectomy.

Helen also told the committee hearing that Dr Van Greene had only explained the procedure that was to be carried out – and the potential risks involved – after she had been administered with a spinal anaesthetic. She said her life had been ruined by the gynaecologist´s negligence, and that she had suffered from depression ever since.

The committee found that Dr Van Greene had failed to obtain Helen´s informed consent prior to the procedure, and that he had communicated with her in an inappropriate manner during a post-operative conversation with her. The committee has not yet revealed what sanctions it will impose on the doctor – which could vary from a fine to being struck off the medical register.

Prior to the finding of a poor professional performance, Helen and six other former patients of Dr Van Greene claimed compensation for gynaecological errors. The claims all relate to the period between 2009 and 2011, when Dr van Greene was performing hysterectomies at the Kilkenny hospital, and all claim to have suffered an adverse event due to a poor professional performance.

Dr Van Greene applied for bankruptcy in the UK earlier this year and is currently unemployed. However, if the claims for compensation for gynaecological errors are successful, the former patients making the claims will be able to recover compensation through his medical indemnity insurance cover.

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Family Pursue Compensation for the Failure to Identify and Treat Sepsis

The family of a woman who died from a post-surgical infection has made a claim for compensation for the failure to identify and treat sepsis.

Fifty-two year old Susan McGee – a mother of two from Rush in County Dublin – attended the Hermitage Medical Clinic on 13th July 2013 for minor hernia surgery. The surgery initially appeared to be successful, and Susan was discharged from the medical facility on 16th July to be cared for by her daughter – Melissa Barry.

On the 17th July, Susan complained of having an abdominal pain and feeling unwell. Melissa took her back to the Hermitage Medical Clinic in Dublin City Centre, where she was readmitted for observation. However, over the weekend of 20th and 21st July Susan´s condition deteriorated. On 22nd July, Susan underwent a CT scan that revealed an obstruction in her small bowel.

The blockage in Susan´s bowel was removed the same day, but her condition continued to deteriorate. Susan was transferred to the intensive care department of the Beaumont Hospital on 23rd July, but she died the following day from multiple organ failure brought on by sepsis that had been triggered by a C.difficle infection.

An inquest into Susan´s death was initially scheduled for February 2015, but it had to be adjourned as only the consultants in charge of Susan´s care had given statements – and one of those had gone on annual leave five days before her death. There were also concerns that evidence given by the nurses at the Hermitage Medical Clinic might be contradicted by Susan´s family.

The rescheduled inquest was held in June 2015; when Dublin City Coroner´s Court heard that there had been a failure by nurses at the Hermitage Medical Clinic to report brown faecal fluid draining from Susan´s nasogastric tube. It was also revealed that Susan´s vital signs had not been recorded between 8:00am and 6:00pm on Sunday 21st July – three days before she died.

The inquest also heard that only one resident medical officer was on duty over the weekend of 20th and 21st July – Dr Lachman Pahwani. Dr Pahwani testified that he was aware Susan´s condition had been deteriorating and had tried to spend as much time with her as possible. However, Susan was one of 81 patients that were staying at the medical facility at the time.

Susan´s death was recorded as being due to medical misadventure, after which her family sought legal advice and made a claim for compensation for the failure to identify and treat sepsis. According to a spokesperson for the family, a summons has now been issued and served on the Hermitage Medical Clinic.

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Judge Approves Compensation for Negligent Post-Surgical Care

After a hearing at the High Court, a judge has approved a €1.5 million interim settlement of compensation for negligent post-surgical care.

On 7th December 2010, fifty-two tear old Martin Byrne from Swords in County Dublin underwent surgery at the Mater University Hospital for unstable angina. The operation involved the insertion of pacing wires into his heart and, five days after the operation, he returned to the hospital to have the wires removed.

The removal of pacing wires is now considered to be a straightforward procedure, but as the procedure was underway, Martin started bleeding internally which caused him to suffer a heart attack. During the heart attack, Martin´s heart stopped working for fifteen minutes. He suffered substantial brain damage due to the lack of oxygen and was in a coma for the next two months.

After Martin was discharged from hospital, his wife – Una – made a claim for compensation for negligent post-surgical care on his behalf. Una alleged in her legal action that the pacing wires were removed by junior staff, whose experienced resulted in the internal bleeding that caused the heart attack. Despite a weight of evidence supporting the claim, the Mater University Hospital did not admit liability until December 2014.

A €1.5 million interim settlement of compensation was agreed while reports are conducted into Martin´s future needs; but, as the claim for compensation for negligent post-surgical care was made on behalf of a plaintiff who was unable to represent himself, the settlement had to be approved by the High Court.

Consequently, at the High Court, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told that prior to his surgery for angina, Martin was a former taxi driver who had enjoyed an active lifestyle which included camping with his wife and four children and scuba diving. Una told Judge Cross “we thought it was the beginning of the rest of our lives as our children were working or at college”.

Judge Cross also heard that the interim settlement of compensation for negligent post-surgical care was to cover Martin´s care costs for the next three years until a final settlement is agreed upon or until a system of periodic payments is introduced in Ireland.

An apology was read to the Byrne family by Mary Day – the CEO of the Mater University Hospital – after which Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of compensation for negligent post-surgical care, wishing the family well for the future and commenting that Martin had “suffered something nobody should have suffered”.

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