All Posts in Category: Medical Malpractice

Ectopic Pregnancy Medical Negligence Claim Resolved

A woman, who was transferred between hospitals while in severe and continuous pain from her ectopic pregnancy, has been awarded 75,000 Euros in ectopic pregnancy medical negligence compensation at the High Court.

Anne English, aged 47, from Clonmel, County Tipperary, had attended the St Joseph’s Hospital, Clonmel, in 1996, with a suspected molar pregnancy – an unusual condition in which abnormal growth occurs instead of foetal tissue.

Anne wasseen to by consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, Dr. Raymond Howard, who dismissed the molar pregnancy and suggested that Anne was suffering from a condition known as acute retrocecal appendicitis. Dr Howard then arranged for Anne to be transferred to Our Lady’s Hospital, Cashel, for a surgical opinion.

However, as Mr Justice Sean Ryan at the High Court was told, Dr. Howard had overlooked Anne´s true condition which was a ectopic pregnancy – one in which the embryo implants outside of the womb – and, when the pregnancy finally ruptured while Anne was at Our Lady’s Hospital, she was returned to St Joseph´s Hospital by hospital despite bleeding heavily and being in a critical condition.

On Anne´s return, Dr Howard immediately transferred her to the operating theatre, where anaesthetic measures had to be used to resuscitate her and three litres of blood were removed from her peritoneal cavity. Despite making a physical recovery from the incident, Anne alleged she had been severely psychologically damaged by the incident and continued to suffer from it.

Finding the Dr. Howard 40 per cent liable for the injury due to his shortcoming, and the Health Service Executive 60 per cent liable for the injuries suffered by Anne, Mr Justice Sean Ryan announced a personal injury compensation award of 75,000 Euros should be paid to Anne stating “The decision to transfer her from the Cashel Hospital to Clonmel in this state amounted to gross negligence”.

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DePuy Failure Rate Heightens British Orthopaedic Association Fears

Research released by the British Orthopaedic Association indicates that as many as 49% of the DePuy ASR Hip Replacement Systems implanted in Ireland since 2003 could fail within the next six years.

Orthopaedic surgeons at the British Hip Society Annual Conference in Torquay this month discussed the topic of large diameter metal-on-metal –bearing total hip replacement systems, with particular attention to the DePuy ASR hip replacement recall.

In Ireland, 3516 people were given the faulty hip replacement system and, in figures which contradict assurances given by the Health Service Executive, it was announced that new projected failure rates for the DePuy ASR hip replacement systems are 35% within four years and 49% within six years.

The surgeons also recommended that patients being monitored for potential hip replacement system failure should have MRI or CT scans to detect any collection of fluid in the vicinity of the hip area, or the presence of cobalt or chromium ions which can lead to neurosurgical problems.

The publication also confirmed that revision surgery for DePuy ASR hip replacement systems can be more difficult than the original implant when soft tissue damage has been sustained, and that specialist hip reconstruction surgery may be required in these instances.

These findings add further support to lawsuits and class actions currently going through the courts in the United States, where over 500 people have already filed compensation claims against DePuy Orthopaedics Inc.

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Hospital Admits Wrongful Death Claim

The family of a man who passed away in hospital due to “an unjustifiable delay” in his treatment have received an apology from the hospital in question and 500,000 Euros compensation in settlement of their wrongful death claim.

Barry Murphy (38) from Carrigaline, County Cork, was known to suffer from Crohn´s Disease – but was usually in good health – when he was admitted to the South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital on the morning of 24th April 2008 complaining of abdominal pains. Barry was diagnosed with a perforated bowl but, by the time the hospital operated on him, parts of his body had already shut down due to septic shock and he passed away at 11.15pm the same evening.

Barry´s widow, Mary, alleged that the hospital had not cared for her husband by failing to operate on him in time, and that they were guilty of medical negligence in the avoidable and wrongful death of her husband. The South Infirmary–Victoria University Hospital denied the claims at first, but in front of Mr Justice John Quirke at the Dublin High Court apologised to the family and admitted that the level of care that was provided for Barry fell short of an acceptable standard.

The apology and admission of liability for Mary Murphy´s wrongful death claim was accompanied with an offer of hospital wrongful death compensation for delayed treatment amounting to 500,000 Euros. Mr Justice John Quirke approved the settlement, once he had Mary Murphy´s agreement that it was agreeable, and extended his sympathies to Mary and her two daughters – commenting that what had happened to Barry was “unthinkable” and “tragic”.

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Cancer Victim Wins Hospital Misdiagnosis Negligence Claim

A woman who had her stomach erroneously removed after being misdiagnosed with cancer has won her hospital misdiagnosis negligence negligence claim and received an undisclosed settlement from Mid Staffordshire General Hospitals NHS Trust.

The 74-year-old female from Rugeley, Staffordshire, underwent the surgery in 2004 after doctors informed her that a tumour in her stomach was malignant. She later found out that her test results had been misinterpreted and that the tumour was benign.

Due to her operation and long recovery period the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, has lost a significant amount of weight and suffers from painful digestive problems. She has been unable to continue the volunteer work she did prior to the operation and now needs regular care and assistance.

The undisclosed out-of-court hospital misdiagnosis negligence claim settlement has been calculated to include the psychological trauma of being told that she had a life-threatening tumour inside of her and the decrease  in her quality of life due to the unnecessary surgery. It will enable the woman to receive an improved level of care in the future and support to help her recover from her emotional ordeal.

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Cerebral Palsy Birth Injury Compensation Agreed for Boy

A young boy, who has left brain damaged and sufferingdue to negligence at his birth, has had his  cerebral palsy birth injury compensation settlement approved in the High Court.

Dontay Crooks (6) from Oxford was born in the city´s John Radcliffe Hospital in 2005, but difficulties developed during his birth which resulted in the young boy being starved of oxygen and sustaining a cerebral palsy injury as a result.

The High Court in London was told that Dontay now has little control over his limbs and is unable to walk. He is also visually impaired, has severe learning difficulties and suffers from bouts of epilepsy.

In the claim for cerebral palsy birth injury compensation made against the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust by Dontay´s mother, it was claimed that with better management of the birth Dontay would not had suffered such traumatic injuries and would be able to maintain a more normal life.

The John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust accepted liability for Dontay´s injuries and agreed to an immediate lump sum settlement of 1 million pounds with further annual payments on a rising scale which will reach 140,000 pounds per year when Dontay reaches the age of eighteen.

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Cerebral Palsy Negligence Settlement by HSE in High Court

A seven year old boy, who was born with spastic cerebral palsy due to the negligence of nursing staff prior to his delivery, has had a partial cerebral palsy negligence settlement of more than one million Euros approved in the High Court.

Shane Kenny from Ballyduff, County Waterford, sued the Health Service Executive through his mother Catherine, due to alleged negligence in the events leading up to his birth at the Erinville Hospital, County Cork, on November 2nd 2004.

In the cerebral palsy negligence compensation claim, Mr Justice John Quirke at the High Court heard that there had been a failure to act on the results of a cardiotocogragh trace (CTG) which showed that the boy´s foetal heart rate was abnormal. Due to this oversight, Shane was delivered by forceps, which resulted in a partial hypoxic event.

The court was told that that, although Shane is able to attend mainstream education, he is not expected to achieve the required cognitive capacity to sit State exams and will never be capable of independent living.

Liability for Shane´s birth negligence injury was accepted by the Health Service Executive, and an interim settlement of 1,004,000 Euros had been agreed between the parties to cover past costs and expenses, and to provide care and education for Shane for the next two years.

Approving the cerebral palsy negligence settlement, Mr Justice John Quirke stated that he hoped legislation would be introduced within the next two years to facilitate periodic payments to those who had suffered catastrophic injury. The cerebral palsy negligence settlement does not account for Shane´s future loss of earnings, which will be agreed in a hearing to be scheduled next year.

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Medical Negligence Case Liability Assigned by Judge

The story of Jade Keane hit the national headlines in February this year, when Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill awarded Jade (10) a medical negligence settlement package of 7 million Euros for the devastating and permanent injuries of post natal hydrocephalus.

The judge had found that gross medical negligence by the Health Service Executive (HSE), the Holles Street National Maternity Hospital and Jade´s GP – Dr Dermot Stones of Ballybrack, County Dublin – had caused her to develop water on the brain in the weeks and months after her birth.

An initial payment of 4.75 million Euros was to be paid as an interim settlement by the HSE and the hospital – both of whom admitted that mistakes had been made, but denied that they amounted to actionable negligence – and, before Mr Justice Seán Ryan at the High Court, they sought indemnity or contribution from Dr Stones in relation to the damages.

After reviewing the case, the judge decreed that there was nothing to distinguish the blameworthiness of all three defendants – stating that they were equally “grossly inept” – and ruled that each should pay one third of the damages awarded by Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill in February.

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Clinical Error Admissions Likely Due to “Duty of Candour”

A member of a High Court working group, commissioned to investigate provision for the victims of catastrophic injury and headed by Mr Justice John Quirke, has announced that the working group is considering the introduction of pre-action protocols to reduce the financial burden to the State of clinical error admissions compensation claims.

Mr Michael Boylan was talking in Dublin at a conference on catastrophic birth and child injuries organised by the charity “Action Against Medical Accidents”. He said that a legal “duty of candour” should be brought in to require medical practitioners to advise a patient as soon as they are aware that a clinical error as occurred.

Quoting from a Health Service Executive report, Mr Boylan stated that there was proof to suggest that patients often forgave the clinical error when it is disclosed promptly, fully and compassionately, and not only would this action lessen the trauma and distress of patients and their families upon discovery, but also reduce the amount of legal costs arising from contested medical negligence actions.

The first proposal from the working group was included in a report published in November 2010. The report recommended that people who sustain catastrophic injuries would benefit more from periodic compensation payments than one lump sum. Mr Boylan hoped that the report would be acted upon and legislation brought in, although he acknowledged that the overall cost to the State could be greater and feared that this might prevent it from being adopted into law.

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Wrong Prescription Poisoning Case Leads to Million Euro Award

The widow of a man who was administered the wrong drug to treat a case of poisoning, has had a wrong prescription poisoning compensation settlement of 1 million Euros approved in the High Court.

Colm O’Donovan (31) from Dunmanway, County Cork, had become ill in August 2005 with suspected food poisoning, and his wife, Patricia, had called the South Doc out of hours medical service. The doctor with the service gave Colm an injection of Cyclamorah, but the next morning his condition had deteriorated. Colm collapsed as he tried to get out of bed and started to suffer seizures.

Patricia once again got in touch with South Doc medical service, and this time Colm was attended by Dr. Johan Dirk van der Meer. Dr. van der Meer diagnosed that Colm’s seizures were a reaction to the first drug and administered an injection of Largactyl – claiming that it would control the seizures. Instead, Colm’s condition continued to worsen and, shortly after being attended by his GP the following morning, suffered a heart attack and died.

It was alleged in the subsequent wrong prescription poisoning action against South West Doctors On Call Ltd, trading as South Doc, of St Finan’s Hospital, County Kerry and Dr. van der Meer that Dr. van der Meer had failed to conduct a full examination of Colm. This, it was alleged, would have shown a serious illness for which Colm could have received treatment in hospital. It was also claimed that by administering the injection of Largactyl, Dr. van der Meer accelerated a serious illness which eventually lead to Colm’s death.

Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was told in the High Court that liability had been admitted by Dr. van der Meer and the action against South Doc was struck out. Mr. Justice Iarfhlaith O’Neill was also told that an agreement had been reached between Colm’s family and the negligent party for a compensation settlement of 1 million Euros, which he was happy to approve.

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