All Posts in Category: Doctor Medical Negligence Claims

€7.25m Settlement for Autistic Teenager Agreed with Hospital

€7.25m birth injury compensation has been awarded to a 13-year-old boy at the High Court in relation to the issues that occured during his birth at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH), Dublin on July 30, 2005.

Legal counsel for the the boy, Finn Phillips, who is on the autism spectrum, Jeremy Maher SC said that the basis of their case was the protracted labour and difficult birth were the alleged cause of Finn’s autism. He went on to say that this was a test case as this issue had never been determined by a court in Ireland, the UK “or anywhere”.

Legal counsel for Finn, who took the legal action through his mother Lisa Marie Murphy, argued that he (Finn) is on the autism spectrum due to complications which arose during his birth at the hospital. The National Maternity Hospital denied all of these claims.

Finn was delivered via ventouse delivery and it is claimed he was unnecessarily exposed to both asphyxia and trauma from the vacuum extraction. Due to this, the Judge was told. he was allegedly unnecessarily exposed to their potential long term consequences. The injuries he sustained suffered, it was alleged, included developmental delay and autism. There was an alleged failure to oversee Finn’s mother’s labour appropriately and an alleged failure to intervene in time. Finally there was a claim from his legal team that Finn was pulled an excessive number of times and he had been allegedly subjected to excessive tractions.

Outside court, Finn’s mother Lisa Marie Murphy said: ” (her son) is a wonderful boy. He would have been a fantastic man if everything had gone according to plan. Now we can make strides to help him be the best man he can be,” she said. The settlement means as parents we don’t have to worry, Finn’s care is there. It means we can go privately for his care.”

Justice Kevin Cross was informed that mediation talks had taken place last Monday and a settlement was reached to bring before the court. In approving this settlement, Justice Cross said he was glad to hear it had been reached. He wished Finn and his family all the best for the future.

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Family of Woman (42) Who Died of Heart Attack Hours after Visiting GP with Cardiac-Like Symptoms Settle Case for €750k

A medical negligence High Court compensation settlement of €750,000 has been awarded to the family of a 42-year old mother of three who died of a heart attack not long after visiting her local doctor due to cardiac arrest-like symptoms.

Sheila Tymon was found by her three young daughters after she had collapsed on her bed at home. The girls called their father Michael who sped to the house at Carrick on Shannon, Co Leitrim.

Following a post mortem examination on June 29, 2013, it was found that Mrs Tymon had extensive cardiovascular disease  and her heart was enlarged. The cause of death was officially recorded as acute cardiac failure.

The claimants alleged that there was there was a failure to care for her properly or at all and an alleged failure to treat her adequately or at all in their medical negligence compensation case.

Mr Tymon, who had been driving at 70km in a 50km zone with his lights flashing, had been followed by an off duty detective who later tried to  help him resuscitate his wife as her three daughters, aged between five and ten, stood watching.

Mr Tymon, along with his daughters  Rachel, Rebecca and Katelyn, with an address at Kilboderry, Summerhill, Carrick on Shannon. Co Leitrim, took the compensation action against GP Martina Cogan who was practising at Keadue Health Centre, Keadue, Boyle, Co Roscommon when his wife’s death occurred in 2013.

Legal Counsel for the Tymons family, Pearse Sreenan SC, said the family believed that the GP should have sent Mrs Tymon on for further investigation and treatment and that this course of action may have prevented her death.

It was alleged that Mrs Tymon attended Dr Cogan on June 10 due to having abnormal sensations in her chest and down both arms which were very unpleasant and causing her discomfort and pain. Dr Cogan, it was claimed, found that Mrs Tymon’s blood pressure was high and diagnosed a possible case of shingles.

A 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitor was applied when Mrs Tymon attended the doctor’s surgery again two days later. An antihypertensive medication was prescribed and a further review was pencilled for later in July 2013. Despite taking the prescribed medication Mrs Tymon continued to get pain on exertion and at rest.

She (Mrs Tymon) called the doctor’s surgery to see if they could bring the review appointment forward on June 25 but she was advised that there was no appointment available until June 27.

On June 27, she attended the doctor’s surgery and it was noted she had constant jabs in the front of the chest, shoulders, the top of her back and down her arms. A working diagnosis of a musculoskeletal issue was the conclusion and the doctor prescribed anti inflammatories to treat this

After she returned home from the GP on June 27 Mrs Tymon, it was claimed, felt reassured. However, later that evening she felt some pain in her neck spreading into her head. At 19.45 pm, her children discovered her lying motionless on her bed.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the medical negligence compensation settlement without an admission of liability.

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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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Delayed Delivery may Have Caused Brain Injury High Court Told in Birth Injury Compensation Action

The High Court has been told that a girl with cerebral palsy may not have been inflicted with any brain injury had she been delivered ten minutes earlier.

Taking the birth injury compensation action through her mother Martine, Faye Walsh (7) sued the Health Service Executive and two consultant obstetricians, claiming that medical negligence and a breach of agreement in relation to the management and circumstances of her birth took place at University Hospital Galway on August 15, 2011. The defendants deny the allegations.

Mrs Walsh was a private patient of Dr Una Conway, a consultant obstetrician, throughout her pregnancy with Fay, Dr Conway and Dr Declan Egan, the second defendant obstetrician, run their own private medical practices at Brooklawn Practice, Brooklawn House, Galway West Business Park, and also practice as consultants in the Galway hospital.

Mrs Walsh opted for a private obstetrician as she had one previous birth by caesarean section and experienced serious abdominal injuries following a road accident in 2008. One of the main disputes in the legal action relates to the information that Mrs Walsh was given regarding the risks of a vaginal delivery. The defendants claim that the options and risks were explained and argue that Mrs Walsh wanted, and agreed to, a vaginal delivery.

The HSE denies that delivery was unreasonably delayed and said that vacuum assisted delivery using a plastic or metal cup attached to the baby’s head was also reasonable.

In her legal action Mrs Walsh says that she was aware that Dr Conway was on annual leave in August 2011 and would not be present at the delivery but claims that she had been advised by Dr Conway that Dr Egan would be there and was familiar with her history.

The defendants do not agree that Mrs Walsh was told Dr Egan would be present. They argue that Mrs Walsh was given an information sheet stating her delivery would be supervised, in the event of Dr Conway being absent, by a covering consultant obstetrician on call for the hospital.

Mrs Walsh claims that neither defendant obstetrician was called to the hospital when, or after, Ms Walsh went into labour about 11pm on Sunday August 14, 2011, despite requests for this by both her and her husband. The court was informed that the on call hospital obstetrician was called to the hospital from his home around 4.30am on the morning of August 15.

The official record of the birth shows that an obstetric registrar was also called and used a Kiwi cup to the baby’s head and that the on-call obstetrician completed the delivery of the baby at 4.55am. Faye was delivered in very poor health and had to be immediately resuscitated. She has spastic quadriplegia, is non verbal, a full time wheelchair user and will require 24-hour care for the rest of her life.

Most of her care is provided by her parents and she is a “happy, content and smiling child” who gets on well at her community primary school and loves the TV cartoon Peppa Pig, the judge was told.

The case is expected to last a number of weeks.

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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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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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Judge Approves Settlement of Meningitis Misdiagnosis Claim

A judge has approved the €5.6 million settlement of a meningitis misdiagnosis claim made on behalf of a young girl who had both legs avoidably amputated.

On the morning of 10th July 2005, the parents of the three-year-old girl phoned the South Doc out-of-hours doctor´s service in Cork, and expressed concerns about their daughter´s symptoms of a rash on her stomach, a high temperature, drowsiness and vomiting.

They were told to bring her into the South Doc clinic and, at 5:00am that morning, the girl was examined by Dr Leon Britz, who diagnosed tonsillitis and sent the family home. However, the young girl´s condition deteriorated in the following hours, and the family returned to the clinic at 9:30am.

On this occasion, a diagnosis of meningitis was made. The girl was taken to the A&E Department of Cork University Hospital, where she was administered antibiotics, and later transferred to Our Lady´s Children´s Hospital in Crumlin, where tragically she had to have both legs amputated below the knee. The girl, now fifteen years of age, underwent 132 operations over the following twelve years.

Through her mother, the girl made a meningitis misdiagnosis claim against Dr Britz and South West Doctors on Call Ltd – the providers of the South Doc out-of-hours doctor´s service. In the meningitis misdiagnosis claim it was alleged the girl suffered “profound consequences” due to the misdiagnosis and the opportunity was missed to administer antibiotics at an earlier stage.

Liability was admitted by the defendants and a settlement of the meningitis misdiagnosis clam amounting to €5.6 million was agreed between the parties. As the legal action had been taken on behalf of a minor, the proposed settlement had to be approved by a judge before it could be finalised to ensure it was in the girl´s best interests.

Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told the sequence of events on 10th July 2005 and of the “profound consequences”. After hearing that the girl was doing well at school and just about to sit her Junior Cert exams, the judge approved the settlement – congratulating her parents for the care they had given the girl and noting that the outcome could have been far worse.

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Minister Plans to Enforce Medical Negligence Open Disclosure Policy

Health Minister Simon Harris has announced that he is to push forward with legislation to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy.

The Health Minister´s intentions to push forward with legislation to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy were revealed in an address to delegates at the State Claims Agency´s first annual “Quality, Patient Safety & Clinical Risk Conference” at Dublin Castle on Monday.

Mr Harris said that the establishment of a new National Patient Safety Office would “lead a program of significant patient safety measures” that included a review of how adverse medical events are disclosed to patients and their families and the process for claiming medical negligence compensation.

The National Patient Safety Office will be led by a team of experts under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality. Its roles include:

  • Setting up a national patient advocacy service.
  • Introducing a patient safety surveillance system.
  • Establishing a national advisory council for patient safety.

The National Patient Safety Office will also be responsible for accelerating the progress of the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill – although enactment of the bill may not be possible until the EU has concluded its work on revised European-wide data protection standards.

This is because the Health Information and Patient Safety Bill contains measures to protect patients´ private healthcare information while aiming to create a national network of healthcare data to improve the provision and management of healthcare services throughout Ireland.

The news that the Health Minister at least intends to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy will be welcomed by legal figures and patient safety experts who have campaigned for many years for a legal duty of candour to be introduced.

Some have claimed that the HSE´s 2013 national guidelines for open disclosure have been widely ignored since their publication, and that former Health Minister Leo Varadkar missed an opportunity to enforce a medical negligence open disclosure policy in the Civil Liberty (Amendment) Bill 2015.

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Settlement of Pre-Natal Medical Negligence Compensation Approved

A final settlement of pre-natal medical negligence compensation has been approved in favour of an eleven-year-old girl who suffers from cerebral palsy.

Isabelle “Izzy” Sheehan was born in the Bon Secours Maternity Hospital in Cork on 29th November 2004, one month after a blood test on her mother – Catherine – had revealed an “alarming rise” of certain blood group antibodies that presented a risk of injury to the unborn child.

Due to consultant obstetrician Dr David Corr´s failure to refer Catherine to specialist in foetal medicine, Isabelle was born suffering from severe spastic quadriparetic cerebral palsy. Now eleven years of age, Isabelle has a specially-equipped machine that helps her to walk but will require life-long care.

In 2011, liability for Isabelle´s avoidable birth injuries was admitted by Dr Corr after Catherine had made a claim for pre-natal medical negligence compensation. An initial interim settlement of €1.9 million compensation was approved in October 2011, following an apology from Dr Corr in which the consultant obstetrician said he “very much regrets the outcome in relation to Isabelle´s birth”.

A second interim settlement was approved in 2013 and, now due for a further interim settlement of pre-natal medical negligence compensation, Isabelle´s mother asked if it were possible to take a lump sum payment in order to eliminate the disruption to Isabelle´s life in the weeks leading up to each assessment of her needs.

The request for a lump sum payment was agreed and, approving the final settlement of €9 million pre-natal medical negligence compensation, High Court President Mr Justice Peter Kelly said it was a fair and reasonable settlement, and it was understandable that Isabelle’s parents were weary with interim settlements.

Mr Justice Kelly also paid tribute to Isabelle´s parents – Catherine and Colm – saying that Isabelle would not have made the progress she had without the “truly remarkable” love, care and attention they have lavished on her, and said that their position underscored the necessity for legislation to be introduced for periodic compensation payments.

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