All Posts in Category: Irish Medical Negligence

€1.25m Wrongful Death Compensation Awarded to Man Whose Wife Died Days After Giving Birth

At the HIgh Court a €1.25m settlement has been agreed for a man whose 38-year-old wife died just days after giving birth to her first baby.

Anne Casey passed away at Cork University Maternity Hospital just 11 days after suffering cardiac arrest during a lung scan. Mrs Casey, who had a previously experienced cardiac complications was over 37 weeks pregnant at the time of the cardiac arrest. She had attended hospital to have a marked cough, that had caused her to become breathless during the previous three weeks, reviewed by medical staff. The decision was taken to admit her that Friday but there was no consultant available to tend to her during the subsequent weekend.

Mr Casey’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony SC informed the Judge that Mrs Casey was treated for a respiratory infection and no other action was taken when it appeared that this was not addressing the issue. He said that she (Mrs Casey) went into cardiac arrest during the  lung scan and a team of up to 12 doctors were required for the attempts to save her and deliver her baby, he said. Additionally Mr O’Mahony informed the Court that Mrs Casey had been diagnosed with insulin-requiring diabetes and was also overweight.

The baby was delivered through emergency caesarean section on the X-ray table. Initially Mrs Casey regained a pulse and was taken to the ICU for further treatment and observation. Sadly it was discovered that she had sustained a devastating brain injury and the situation didn’t not alleviate over the following nine days.

A decision was taken to remove life support on March 7, 2012 and she died just two days later.

An inquest at the hospital in relation to Mrs Casey’s death resulted in a recommendation that all individuals  with complex medical conditions and new symptoms must be seen to by by a consultant in less 24 hours following their admission.

Mrs Casey’s now 49-year-old husband Dominic Casey – with an address at Lettergorman, Dunmanway, Co Cork – had taken the wrongful death legal action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the circumstances surrounding his wife’s death on March 9, 2012. The claims include in the legal action said that there was a failure to properly assess, diagnose and treat Mrs Casey when she presented in the emergency department with breathlessness and that it had been mistakenly assumed she was suffering from a respiratory infection.

The HSE refuted all of the claims were denied and a submitted a full defence to the case.

As he was giving hi sapproval for the compensation settlement, presiding Judge Justice Cross offered his sympathies to the Casey family.

Speaking during the hearing Mr Casey detailed how he had been outside the X-ray department at the time his wife went into cardiac arrest. He said: “I saw the chaos. I felt numb and stunned. I thought my wife and baby son were both gone.”

 

 

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HSE apologises to Family over Father’s 2011 Death Due to Medical Misadventure

An apology was issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the family of a man in relation to his death at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny in 2011.

John Joseph Comerford was brought to the hospital in Kilkenny during March 2011 for hernia repair surgery. Unfortunately, the High Court was told, the 68-year-old passed away three days later in “very distressing circumstances”. An inquest into his death in 2014 returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

The family said that Mr Comerford was brought back to hospital two days following his hernia surgery with shortness of breath, abdominal pain and low blood pressure. A CT scan showed fluid in his abdominal wall and after the site of the operation was opened again, faecal smelling fluid was drained away from the area. When he was admitted to the intensive care unit, he suffered two cardiac arrests and passed away on 21 March 2011. As a result of his death, Mr Comerford’s family initiated a medical negligence case against the HSE. In the case liability was admitted by the HSE and the case was settled for an undisclosed sum.

An apology from the HSE on behalf of St Luke’s General Hospital was read out before the court. it said: “We apologise to Mrs Comerford and to her children and extended family for the events leading to the death of Mr John Joseph Comerford in the 21st of March 2011. We do not underestimate the distress and sadness caused to Mrs Comerford and her children by the loss of their husband and father. We offer our sincere condolences”.

Mr Comerford’s daughter Karen Brown, speaking outside the court, said she is happy the case has finished but is “disgusted” that it has taken this so long for this to be achieved. She said: “It feels very sad that it’s taken this long to happen. It’s sad my kids have missed out on their granddad. They adored him for the little time they knew him”.

Mr Comerford’s son, David, also made a statement following the case and described his father as an keen gardener who came to Ireland from the UK to retire in the late 1990s. He said his dad was very fond of the allotments and carried on working as a builder when he came here. He and his sister said their mother, who is now in her late 70s and was not in court on the day, had to move back to the UK since her husband’s death to be nearer to her children. he said: “You mourn your loved ones and it never goes away, but this just brings it to the surface time and time again. You think of him every day.”

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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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Swine Flu Vaccine Caused Narcolepsy According to Legal Action of Woman (26)

26-year-old Aoife Bennett has taken a vaccine compensation action as, she claims, she developed narcolepsy after having the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine administered.

Ms Bennet, who  broke down in the High Court while testifying, said that she began suffering waves of excessive tiredness within weeks of having the vaccination administered. She told the court that she was informed that it was her responsibility to get the vaccine as Ireland faced a possible swine flu pandemic in 2009. She went on to say that she would never have had it if she had been are of the possible negative outcomes.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath was informed that Ms Bennett was just 16 years of age when she had the vaccine in December 2009 as part of a mass vaccination programme. She advised the judge that she was “absolutely exhausted, before this I was very energetic and active. By Christmas Day 2009 the situation had become so bad that  she said she had to drag herself downstairs for Christmas dinner with her family.

A special comfortable chair was provided for Ms Bennett to give evidence from and she snoozed before the judge came to the bench and she was sworn in to give evidence. In addition to this Justice MacGrath told her that she could take any breaks she required during her evidence.

In students were vaccinated at school on a class-by-class basis. Ms Bennett told the Judge that she asked to read a brochure. However she was informed that she did not need to read it. She said “I was reassured it was going to be fine”. She also told the Judge that, when narcolepsy was diagnosed in 2011, she had never heard of it  prior to this point in time.

Ms Bennett, of Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, took the vaccination compensation action against the Minister for Health, the HSE, vaccine producer Glaxosmithkline Biologicals and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The action alleged that Health Service Executive produced brochures misled those who viewed them as to the safety of the Pandemrix vaccine and the alleged risk linked to it being administered. The Judge was informed that the brochures included guidance which was factually incorrect.

The action alleged that Glaxosmithkline requested an indemnity from liability from the State before it would agree to produce the vaccine. The HPRA, it is alleged, was aware there was a different vaccine which had more clinical data to support its safety and efficacy.

All of the defendants in the legal action refute the claims made against them and deny liability.

 

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US Medical Expert says Vaginal Mesh is ‘Not Safe’

Expert Chartered chemist Dr Chris DeArmitt, has assisted over 9,000 women is have their vaginal mesh compensation actions settled, has referred to the that the material as not safe for treating incontinence.

Vaginal mesh is currently not being used due to suspension in the United Kingdom. This will remain so until the results of an independent safety review are revealed. The study was initiated after thousands of women reported harrowing complications. DeArmitt, a leading medical expert in the UK has been called upon during court action against producers of vaginal mesh.

In the United States over 100,000 people are taking legal actions due to injuries and illnesses that the believe arose from the use of vaginal mesh.

In an interview with Sky News Dr DeArmitt said: “There are two main reasons why any plastics material expert will tell you just obviously that this is a bad material and I have never heard anyone who disagrees with me. I see an absolute disregard for proper testing. Testing is way less than you would see on a vacuum cleaner or a washing machine. It’s shocking. I’ve never seen anything like it in my career.”

In Ireland there have been a number of case in relation to use if vaginal mesh in recent years, particularly in 2017. Legal representatives for a number of women, who initiated legal actions in 2017 after undergoing the vaginal mesh procedure, said that they (the women) only became aware of the issue after seeing media reports in the United Kingdom in relation to its use.

The US regulator, the FDA, in 2019 outlawed the sale and distribution of all mesh that was to be used for the treatment of pelvic organ prolapse due to the many safety problems experienced by the general public. In the UK, the National Institute for Care and Excellence (NICE) has stated that it will be offered as a potential alternative form of treatment for women suffering from various injuries once the ban on using it is lifted.

A NICE representative commented: “The benefits and risks of each type of treatment are laid out to ensure every woman is fully informed. Where the evidence is limited, this is also highlighted. There are a number of procedures recommended by NICE, including mesh procedures.”

Due to work of many campaigners, the use of vaginal mesh has come under the microscope once more. Typical problems suffered by  women include chronic pain, not being able to make love, inability to work as normal and walking difficulties. These issues arise from vaginal mesh cutting organs or getting stuck in tissue, leaving permanent nerve damage.

 

 

 

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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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Woman Left with Forehead Scar after ‘Negligence’ in Care Awarded €63,000 Medical Negligence Compensation

A woman has been awarded €63,000 medical negligence compensation at the High Court in relation to the standard of her post-operative care at St James’s Hospital in Dublin following a procedure to remove of a heart pacemaker.

58-year-old Concepta Anderson, of Sooey, Co Sligo, took the legal action against the hospital after she experienced an episode of syncope (heart stoppage leading to a blackout) and fell when she was in a hospital toilet on May 18th, 2014.

The incident took place at a time when she was rehabilitating from a procedure to take out her permanent pacemaker and was waiting for her new pacemaker to be inserted. She suffered a head injury and has a permanent cut on her forehead.

Mr Justice Anthony Barr noted in his reserved judgment that, prior to having a pacemaker, Ms Anderson had a history of falls and syncope and was a fall risk following the removal of her pacemaker.

However, he ruled that there was negligence by her consultant cardiologist in not making sure that clear instructions were provided to nursing staff that Ms Anderson was a fall risk and therefore should be restricted to bed and only permitted to walk about with proper supervision.

Due to that failure, Ms Anderson was not told that she should remain bed and was allowed move freely within the range of her telemetry monitor. He said that this left hers in danger of serious injury.

The judge said the claimant was lucky that, when she did have the syncope episode, she was located in the toilet. He dismissed additional claims of negligence in relation to a decision not to insert a temporary wire following the removal of the pacemaker and before the insertion of the replacement device. Ms Anderson suffered a moderate head injury as a result of the fall, he said.

He said that he believed that Ms Anderson is embarrassed by her forehead wound which, while not ugly, was permanent. In considering all of these factor he assessed total medical negligence compensation of €63,112.

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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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Childbirth Death Compensation of €650,000 Awarded to Dead Woman’s Family for Nervous Shock

A High Court action for nervous shock has been settled for €650,000 in favour of the husband and son of a woman who died at the National Maternity Hospital (NMH) not long after having an emergency caesarean section.

31-year-old Nora Hyland, originally from Malaysia, passed away on the operating table at the NMH, Holles Street, Dublin, on February 13, 2012, just three hours following an emergency caesarean section procedure during the birth of her son Frederick. The hospital did not admit liability and denies the claims.

The Hylands’ legal representative, Sasha Louise Gayer, informed that the Hylands were satisfied with the settlement but were too upset to attend court. Ms Gayer informed the court that Frederick was delivered successfully but Ms Hyland began to quickly lose a lot of blood.

A subsequent inquest resulted in a verdict of medical misadventure.  The first-time mother had to wait almost 40 minutes for a blood transfusion after she experienced severe bleeding after an emergency birth.

In presenting his ruling on the cause of death, Dublin coroner Dr Brian Farrell ruled that the chief factor was cardiac arrest which occurred due to severe post-partum haemorrhage. However, he was unable to confirm that the delay in Mrs Hyland receiving blood was a “definite” cause of her death.

In addition to this the inquest was told that a labelling mistake in the laboratory led to a 37-minute delay in Mrs Hyland having a blood transfusion. Another issue was that no emergency supply units of O-negative, the universal blood type, were stored in operating theatres at the National Maternity Hospital at the time. Measures were implemented in theatre and a request for blood was processed just after midnight.  A blood transfusion was carried out around 40 minutes later.

Mr Hyland, (42)  Station Road, Portmarnock, Co Dublin had sued the NMH for nervous shock in relation to the traumatic circumstances at the time of his wife’s death.

 

 

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