All Posts in Category: Hospital Medical Negligence

€18m Birth Injury Compensation for Six-year-old Boy

At the High Court today a six-year-old boy has been awarded an €18m compensation settlement in relation to the injuries he sustained after being deprived of oxygen at the time of his birth at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin.

The defendant in the legal action, the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) issued an official apology to the young boy, who now has cerebral palsy, due to the failures and mistakes that were made as he was being delivered. 

The young boy in question, Fionn Feeley, suffers with spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, is unable to communicate verbally and must have care in place at all times.

A letter of apology was read out in the High Court as Fionn Feely settled his legal action against the hospital for €18m. The letter to the Feelys, which was read to the court, was from the Master of the NMH, Professor Shane Higgins.

It said: “On behalf of the National Maternity Hospital I wish to sincerely apologise for the shortcomings in care during Mrs Feely’s labour and delivery in April 2015 and to Fionn for his devastating injuries. We do not underestimate how difficult and traumatic it has been for you and your family and acknowledge the challenges that you have faced on a daily basis since that time and we are truly sorry.”

Instructed by solicitor Lyndy Cantillon and Senior Counsel Liam Reidy the boy’s family informed the Judge that they were arguing that Fionn’s delivery  should have been completed three hours earlier. They added that fighting for Fionna to have justice in relation to the mistakes that were made has changed them considerably. 

At the High Court Mr Reidy said was his clients’ contention the insult to his brain was towards the end of the labour. He said: “We say, if he had been delivered in accordance with proper standards, there would not be brain damage.”

Fionn, through his father, took the legal action for birth injury compensation against the National Maternity Hospital at Holles Street, Dublin, in relation to the circumstances of his birth in April 2015.

The legal action alleged that there was a failure in relation to the steps that were taken during the pregnancy and labour of Mrs Feely along with a shortcoming in relation to monitoring the baby’s foetal heart rate.

Finally there was a claim that there was a failure to identify and address the symptoms or signs of foetal distress and a failure to consider a caesarean section delivery due to the circumstance of elevated maternal temperature and pathological CTG trace.

The NMH accepted that a breach of duty had occurred in relation to Fionn’s labour and delivery.

After the compensation award was approved, a statement read outside the Four Courts by  Fionn’s father Stephen said that over the last six years they have known sadness, worry and grief on a daily basis, but their son is much more than his diagnosis.”

He said Fionn is happy, funny, clever, mischievous, playful, inquisitive and, above all, loving.

He said: “We are his world, and he is ours. Our hope now is that we finally have the opportunity to enjoy just being parents to Fionn, as opposed to primarily being his carers and then we will also have a chance to give him absolutely everything he needs and deserves to get the most out of his life.”

He continued: “There has been no respite from our grief, no respite from our daily struggles and worries, no respite from the what-ifs and whys and the thoughts of what could have been. No amount can account for what Fionn has lost or ever bring back the child that Fionn should have been, but this money will go towards giving him a future he can look forward to and thrive in.”

Earlier the boy’s parents had informed the court, through their legal representation, that “like many people anticipating the birth of their first child, our hopes and dreams were wrapped up in one little person. Those dreams were shattered, and it is difficult to describe the devastation we experienced. The joy of holding our first-born child in our arms was taken from us. It was supposed to be the happiest day of our lives, it became our worst.”

As he was giving his final approval for the birth injury compensation settlement, Justice Paul Coffey praised Feelys and said they were exceptional parents to their young son.

 

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Alleged Negligence Hospital Compensation Settlement €68,000 Approved for Family of Deceased Woman

The relatives of a woman who passed away following suffering from a sepsis infection brought on by peritonitis have had a €68,000 compensation settlement from the HSE for alleged negligence in her treatment approved.

72-year-old Rose Malley passed away at Connolly Hospital, Blanchardstown, Dublin, on March 19, 2015. Ms Malley, who had a history of pancreatitis, allegedly died after suffering from septic as she was having a Peg feeding tube shifted to address her health issues.

Yesterday at the High Court Justice Garrett Simons gave his approval for a compensation settlement in relation to Mrs Malley’s untimely death. Mrs Malley was mother to a family of six and lived in Crossmolina, Co Mayo at the time of her death.

The HSE medical negligence includes the complete €35,000 solatium – the statutory payment according to the Civil Liability Act – €8,402 in special damages, and all other measured legal expenses.

Catherine O’Malley – daughter of the deceased woman – from  Latchford Green, Clonee, Dublin submitted the legal action on behalf of her family. They were represented in court by Alistair Rutherdale BL.

IMr Rutherford told the court that it was being claimed that there was negligence involved in the insertion, monitoring and application of a Peg tube. This, he said, resulted in Mrs O’Malley sustaining the sepsis infection that lead to her death.

Mrs O’Malley was receiving treatment in relation to cholecystitis, inflammation of the gallbladder. Due to this she was scheduled for the surgery in October 2012 at Mayo General Hospital. It was alleged by the plaintiff that choosing to leave gallstones in place lead to a heightened danger of more problems, such as acute pancreatitis, occuring.

Mr Rutherdale said the family were arguing that Mrs O’Malley should not have been discharged on December 3 after attending Blanchardstown hospital on December 27, 2014. She had been suffering with symptoms including vomiting at the time. On January 5 she was readmitted and diagnosed with pancreatitis and pneumobilia.

Counsel for the plaintiff told the court that their mother was completing a slow recovery and, as part of that, she had a Peg feeding tube inserted on March 13, 2015. Tragically, it appears that the tube had moved and peritonitis developed which lead to her death.

A €68,000 settlement was agreed and the family released a statement to say that they submitted the action to “highlight the deficiencies” in their mother’s treatment.

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€35,000 Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Family Due to ‘Very Tragic’ Death of Infant Son

A wrongful death compensation payment of €35,000 has been approved at the High Action in a legal action taken by the family of an infant boy, who died a few hours after he was delivered, against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital.

Richard Kean SC, instructed by solicitor Caoimhe Haughey for the plaintiffs said that the case arose out of what the untimely and “very tragic” death of baby Rory.

The November 19 2015 death of infant  Rory Jason Sweeney Butler at the maternity hospital resulted in his parents, Assumpta Sweeney and Jason Butler, submitted a medical negligence compensation action against the Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital. The alleged that the hospital had behaved in a negligent manner and that, due to their son Rory’s wrongful death in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit they experienced nervous shock for a number of months.

The defendant in the case accepted liability.

Mr Justice Robert Eager formally approved the statutory compensation award, referred to as the solatium for distress, to the family of the infant at the High Court. The award will be paid to Assumpta and Jason, who live in Drimnagh, Dublin 12, and to Rory’s  brothers and sisters. The court was informed that family members had waived any entitlement to any payment out of the award.

The Court was also informed that there are due to be additional, but separate, legal proceedings taken in relation the the circumstances of Rory’s death.

This not the first time that the Coombe Hospital has been directed, by the Courts, to pay compensations in relation to complications arising during the birth of a child. In 2013 the maternity  hospital was found liable in a dyskinetic cerebral palsy medical negligence compensation claim which was taken by the parents of a then 10–year-old boy who was born suffering from near total acute hypoxic ischaemia,  which a subsequent investigation into the claim for dyskinetic cerebral palsy revealed was due to medical negligence. €65,000 medical negligence was award to a boy, Dara Brennan, who sustained a facial injury during his delivery at the Coombe Hospital on November 12, 2009 and €15m was awarded to Eoin McCallig from Dunkineely in Co Donegal and his parents in relation to the injuries he sustained his birth. These injuries were caused by Eoin being deprived of oxygen at birth.

 

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€6.5m Medical Negligence Settlement for Disabled Teenager

At the High Court a 19-year-old man with cerebral palsy has settled a High Court action, taken in relation to injuries his sustained at the time of his birth in the Rotunda Hospital, for €6.5m.

The settlement includes €500,000 related to past care and several thousand euro is to be dedicated to allow the man question, Ross McNally, to invest in assisted technology. Presiding Judge Justice Kevin Cross gave his approval for the agreed €6.5m settlement figure and praised both sets of legal teams on successful mediation talks.

The court was informed by Siun Leonowicz BL, instructed by solicitor Tim O’Hanrahan, that this settlement for Mr McNally was the result of the mediation talks which begun in the last few weeks. Prior to the mediation beginning liability in the case had been conceded.

Ms Leonowicz this week told the court that Mr McNally suffered a hypoxic ischaemic injury at the time of his birth.

The legal action was taken by Mr McNally, Sherrard Court, Dublin, via his mother Samantha McNally, against the Rotunda Hospital in relation to the events that took place during his delivery on March 8, 2001.

Due to the the onset of labour and CTG tracing, his mother was taken to hospital on March 7, 2001, On the morning of March 8, analysis showed that the foetal heart-rate pattern on the CTG was deteriorating, according to those monitoring Ms McNally.

The court was informed that the Syntocinon treatment, which allows the muscles of the womb to contract, was started at 5.30am and steadily increased, despite the worsening appearance of foetal heart rate on the CTG tracing. In addition to this it was alleged that labour was allowed to progress at 8.15am despite the pathological appearance of the CTG. At 9.20am a decision was made to deliver Ross. An emergency caesarean section was carried out and he was born at 9.50am. However he was in a cyanosed condition.

The legal action that was taken alleged that there was a failure to identify atypical deceleration on CTG tracing and that it was pathological. In addition to this it was claimed that there was a failure to manage or appropriately manage the second stage of labour and the baby’s delivery was delayed by 65 minutes.

Ms McNally informed the court, via an affidavit to the court, that she is happy with the settlement.

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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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BreastCheck Misdiagnosis Compensation Claims as Woman (59) Sues Health Service Executive

Mother of two Siobhan Freeney, who attended a mobile BreastCheck clinic to have a mammogram conducted as she was concerned about a lump on her breast, has taken a BreastCheck misdiagnosis compensation claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Ms Freeney alleges that the results of her mammogram in June 2015 was read incorrectly. A number of day after the mammogram was completed she received a letter from the BreastCheck service to advise her that the mammogram results were clear. Just six months later, Ms Freeney was diagnosed with cancer in her right breast and she now alleges that the original mammogram should have returned a result of highly suspicious for cancer and she should have been sent for further assessment.

Ms Freeney had a mammogram in the mobile clinic when it came to her local town Gorey, Co Wexford and she claims that this test she have revealed a cancer diagnosis.

Ms Freeney’s legal representative Jeremy Maher SC told the court that due to this delay in her diagnosis, Ms Freeney says that they chance to spot the cancer at an early stage was missed. Mr Maher SC informed the court that they are submitting the claim due to the alleged delay in the diagnosis of Ms Freeney’s breast cancer. The breast cancer was not actually diagnosed until December 2015.

It is their contention it ought to have been diagnosed six months earlier when Ms Freeney attended the mobile clinic.

Furthermore it was alleged that Ms Freeney was not referred for additional assessment after the tests that were conducted at the mobile clinic in Gorey. They said that a triple assessment including a clinical assessment mammogram and ultrasound would have taken place and identified the cancer if this had been done.

The compensation claim said that there was a failure to failure to advise, treat and care for her in a proper skillful, diligent and careful fashion along with an alleged failure to use reasonable care skill and judgment when reviewing her mammogram taken on June 17, 2015. Finally it was claimed that there was an a failure to identify that features in her mammogram of her right breast taken that June were suspicious of cancer. Had her cancer been detected in the test that was conduct in June 2015, her counsel said Ms Freeney would have undergone a mastectomy.

All the claims are denied by the HSE. Counsel for the defence claimed that, if the cancer has been discovered in the earlier test, the cancer would have been smaller and she would not have required radiotherapy and chemotherapy. He said their case was the mammogram taken in the mobile clinic was incorrectly reported as indicating no indication of cancer. Specialists for their side he said will say that if Ms Freeney had been sent on for additional assessment the cancer would have been identified.

The case before Ms Justice Niamh Hyland continues.

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Cancer Patient (67) Died After Discharging Herself from Overcrowded Mater Hospital

At Coroner’s Court in Dublin an inquest has heard how a 67-year-old cancer patient  died four days after she was permitted to discharge herself from the Mater Hospital due to overcrowding.

Family members, speaking following the inquest, said their mother, Elizabeth Leavy from Montpellier Road, Dublin 7 was left waiting on a hospital trolley for six hours. They, the family members stayed alongside her all evening but they were not aware her condition was so serious.

Her daughter Joy, speaking about the events at the Mater Hospital, said: “She was left in the hallway beside the bins. She was afraid, in pain, uncomfortable and she was hallucinating. She couldn’t stick it. We waited all night with her for test results and they told us she was okay. If we had of known they wanted to do more research we would’ve made her stay. She was left on a trolley in a hallway for six hours, a cancer patient, she’d had enough.

She described the pivotal role and position that her late Mother played in their family: “She was bubbly, fun, she saw the good in everyone and everything.”

Mrs Leavy. a mother-of-eight, who was first diagnosed with oral and bowel cancer in 2017, passed away four days after she discharged herself from the hospital. She was discovered at her home in an unresponsive condition on the morning of January 22 2018.

The inquest was told the Mrs Leavy’s death was caused by cardio-respiratory arrest due to multi-drug toxicity. The woman had toxic levels of the opiate based pain medications Tramadol and Oramorph in her system, which had built up over time. A post-mortem report indicated that the woman’s cancer was not active but she had chronic inflammation of the liver due to the accumulation of medications.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said: “These medications act centrally in the respiratory centre and it impedes your breathing. Your breathing stops and your heart stops and I think that is what happened that morning. The build-up of the medications in her system caused her death.”

Speaking in relation to the overcrowding at the hospital when Mrs Leavy was admitted Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Mater Hospital Dr Tomas Breslin said: “Overcrowded conditions bring a higher risk of dying. Every nurse and doctor knows this is a massive problem for patients, it affects their care and their outcomes. I reviewed [Mrs Leavy’s] notes in detail. There were questions we didn’t know the answer to and that would have been the reason for keeping her in the department. That being said, you can understand why, when there is no clear issue, a person would decide to leave”.

The coroner returning a verdict of misadventure, said: “She’d gone through a lot of treatment and seemed to be doing well. It’s very tragic, she obviously had a loving and attentive family”.

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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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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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