All Posts in Category: Compensation for Surgical Errors

Mater Private Hospital Compensation of €10,000 made due to Surgical Negligence

A judge has awarded  €10,000 against the Mater Private Hospital after a man, who had been placed under anaesthetic, never had his operation as a critical piece of medical equipment went missing from the surgical team.

At the Circuit Court today, Judge John O’ Connor, was informed that Peter Keegan (31) was scheduled for an operation on his right hip on 25 November 2016, in the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles St, Dublin 7. Keegan, with an address at Woodbine Park, Raheny, Dublin 5 was represented in court by Barrister Conor Kearney, appearing with Mark Tiernan, of Tiernan & Company solicitors. Kearney informed the court that his client had been admitted to the hospital’s short stay procedure unit at 6.45am on the morning in question.

He added that his client had been administered with an anaesthetic at 7.30am. It was during this procedure, when the operation set of instruments had been opened, it was realized that an irrigation extender was not present. it was claimed that the missing piece of equipment had been sent for repair four weeks previously. However, the missing piece had not been replaced. When Mr Keegan came to from the anaesthetic around 8.30am, he was informed that there had been an issue with his operation and it had not been completed.

This caused him some distress until the team of nurses advised him of the mistake that had been made. Mr Keegan informed the judge that he remained very sleepy when he had been discharged a few hours later and he had suffered with stomach pain and nausea in the days following the incident.

Despite the fact that the procedure was rescheduled for ten days later on 5 December, Mr Keegan said he had been worried leading up to the new operation. He informed the judge that he had been extremely nervous about taking the anaesthetic again.

Judge O’Connor accepted there had been medical negligence on behalf of the Mater Private Hospital in what he termed an ‘unfortunate incident’. He added that he believed Mr Keegan had been upset emotionally after the incident. He was, however, lucky that there had been no long-term effects. Judge O’Connor awarded Keegan €10,000 medical negligence compensation damages against the Mater Private Hospital in relation to the case in question.

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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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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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Interim Settlement of Compensation for Negligent Diaphragm Surgery Approved

A €1.8 million interim settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery has been approved at the High Court in favour of a four-year-old boy.

In January 2012, six-month-old Jude Miley from Dundrum in Dublin underwent surgery at Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children to readjust the contour of his diaphragm and help his breathing. Tragically, a suture used during the operation was located too close to Jude´s heart and, every time he breathed, his heart was getting stabbed by the raw end of the suture.

Two days after the surgery, Jude went into cardiac arrest. Although he was brought round quickly, Jude´s brain had been starved of oxygen and an MRI scan revealed that he had suffered irreparable brain damage. Jude´s parents – Greville and Anne Louise – were told that it the cardiac arrest was a risk associated with the surgery and there was nothing that could be done.

Nonetheless, both of Jude´s parents gave up their jobs to care for their son, while friends of the family raised funds for Jude to have specialist treatment in both the UK and the USA. During this time, Our Lady´s Hospital for Sick Children conducted an investigation into the cause of Jude´s cardiac arrest – unfortunately excluding Greville and Anne Louise, despite the couple´s request to be informed of any developments.

In order to find out how their son had suffered such a devastating injury, Greville claimed compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery – alleging that the suture had been placed without the surgeon having sight of Jude´s heart and other vital organs, and also that the hospital had failed to act appropriately when Jude´s parents had raised concerns about Jude´s condition after the operation.

Liability for Jude´s injuries was admitted late last year, and a €1.8 million settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery agreed to cover the cost of a new home for the family and Jude´s parent loss of income. AS the settlement was in respect of a claim on behalf of a child, it had to be approved by a judge to ensure it was appropriate.

Consequently at the High Court, Mr Justice Anthony Barr was told the details of Jude´s diaphragm condition and the operation that had been scheduled to rectify it. The judge was also told about Jude´s cardiac arrest and the consequences to his family after it was discovered Jude had suffered brain damage. The judge approved the interim settlement of compensation for negligent diaphragm surgery and adjourned the case in order that an assessment can be made of Jude´s future care needs.

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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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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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Claims for Botched Cosmetic Surgery in Balance due to Death of Surgeon

Two compensation claims for botched cosmetic surgery have been left in the balance following the death of the surgeon who allegedly performed substandard procedures on his patients.

A High Court judge has allowed the Medical Defence Union (MDU) to withdraw from two compensation claims for botched cosmetic surgery following the death of the defendant in both claims – Mr Samy Malhas. Mr Malhas had been represented by the MDU in the defence of two claims made against him – but, in January, the doctor died in Germany after being declared a bankrupt.

Mr Malhas was being sued by Mary Jo Moloney, who was left with scarring, nipple mal-positioning, hypersensitivity, and distortion of breast shape following an allegedly negligent breast augmentation procedure. Mary Jo also claimed that her consent for the procedure was not valid. Her claim for botched cosemetic surgery is all the more difficult because the clinic at which she underwent the procedure in November 2003 – the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Clinic in Dublin – is now in liquidation and had no insurance.

The second claim for botched cosmetic surgery was made by Deidre Shortt, who underwent a rhinoplasty procedure in August 2007 at the Cosmedico Clinic in Dublin. Deidre claimed that she was left “a nasal cripple” due to Mr Malhas´ alleged malpractice, but Mr Malhas had contested her claim on the grounds that Deidre had contributed to the condition of her nose by failing to allow it to heal after the surgery. Cosmedico is still in business however; and according to Mr Justice George Birmingham does have an insurance policy against which Deidre may be able to make a claim.

Mary Jo and Deidre were in court to fight the application from the MDU to withdraw from the claims for botched cosmetic surgery, but Judge Birmingham allowed the MDU to “come off record” on condition that the organization refunded the legal costs so far incurred by the two plaintiffs.

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