All Posts in Category: Misdiagnosis of Symptoms

€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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Whooping Cough Death Compensation Settlement of €100k for Mother Approved

A medical negligence compesnation settlement of €100,000 has been approved in the High Court for a mother whose two-month-old son died two weeks after she brought him to hospital with what it was claimed were the classic signs of whooping cough.

The family’s counsel Dr John O’Mahony told the High Court a diagnosis of bronchiolitis was made at Cork University Hospital on Romi Betak, from Cork, when the baby actually was suffering from the whooping cough.

Maria Mullins (33), of Presentation Road, Gurranabraher, Cork, had taken the whooping cough compensation acttion against the Health Service Executive in relation to the death of Romi in August 2012.

Dr O’Mahony said the child’s condition deteriorated and a blood sample taken coagulated and could not be tested. It was argued that Counsel said if a repeat blood test had been completed, the course of treatment for Romi would have been different, as a diagnosis could have been reached. The High Court was told that the child was kept at Cork University Hospital (CUH) and his condition worsened.

Dr O’Mahon said “His heart was racing, his breath was racing. The penny never dropped until it was too late”.

Romi has initially been taken to Cork University Hospital on August 3 2012, it was claimed, by his parents as he seemed to be suffering from the usual symptons of whooping cough infection. These symptoms included episodes of breath holding, coughing spasms and thick copious secretions.

Despite the baby’s condition worsening it is claimed that his health was not reviewed again by a doctor until August 5. By the time of this review his breathing was more laboured but the probability of whooping cough was allegedly not considered.

It was claimed there was a failure at that stage to carry out a chest X-ray and a failure to discuss the possibility of the provision of antibiotics.

On August 9 and 10 Romi was tube fed consistent with his deteriorating respiratory status.

On August 11, it was claimed, the possibility of whooping cough infection was noted for the first time following another deterioration in the child’s condition. However there was still no medical intervention. A chest X-ray showed significant areas of lung infection

The next day, August 12, the Romi suffered a respiratory arrest and was resuscitated, intubated and transferred to a Dublin hospital where he sadly passed away on August 14.

The High Court was told liability remained an issue in the case while Mr Justice Kevin Cross approved the whooping cough compensation settlement.

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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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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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Claim for Undiagnosed Complications during Pregnancy Heard in Court

A claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy that resulted in a child suffering spastic diplegic cerebral palsy has been heard at the High Court.

The claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy was bought by the child´s mother against the Health Service Executive (HSE) and Cork University Maternity Hospital after her son – one of twin boys born on 5th October 2010 – was diagnosed with spastic diplegic cerebral palsy.

The High Court heard that a scan conducted in June 2010 revealed a low-lying placenta, and that a second scan in September 2010 indicated there was a risk of vasa praevia – a pregnancy complication in which babies blood vessels cross or run near the internal opening of the uterus.

It was alleged in the court action that the Cork University Maternity Hospital should have conducted a more specific scan in September 2010 to address the risk of vasa praevia, and that the hospital demonstrated a failure to exercise reasonable care at the antenatal stage of the pregnancy.

As a result of the alleged negligence, one of the twins suffered foetal distress in the womb. He now suffers from spastic diplegic cerebral palsy, resulting in mobility and cognitive difficulties. Despite being flown to Missouri for Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy to help him walk for the first time, he requires a walker or a wheelchair whenever he gets tired or ill.

At the High Court the HSE testified it was not normal practice to carry out a second scan to address the risk of vasa praevia and that it contested liability in the claim for undiagnosed complications during pregnancy. However, the court also heard that the HSE had agreed to an interim settlement of compensation for spastic diplegic cerebral palsy amounting to €1.98 million.

After hearing that the boy – now six years of age – had won a National Children of Courage Award in 2014, and that the funds will be used to provide him with greater access to private physiotherapy, speech, language and occupational therapy, the interim settlement was approved. The case will return to the High Court in five years after the boy´s future needs have been assessed.

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Court Approves Interim Settlement of Chicken Pox Misdiagnosis Compensation

The High Court has approved a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation in favour of a young boy who suffered a brain injury.

Eoghan Keating from Upper Dunhill in County Waterford was soon to be celebrating his second birthday, when his parents took him to the A&E Department of Waterford Regional Hospital on August 24, 2012, suffering from a high fever and having developed a rash on his abdomen. Eoghan was misdiagnosed as having mumps and was sent home after being treated with ibuprofen and Carpol.

The little boy´s condition deteriorated during the night. He became lethargic and a swelling developed in his neck. His concerned parents – Larry and Martina – called the caredoc GP service, who advised that Eoghan be taken back to the hospital as soon as possible. On his return to the Waterford Regional Hospital, Eoghan was correctly diagnosed as having a chicken pox infection.

Eoghan was intubated and ventilated before being transferred to the Children´s Hospital in Dublin, but the correct diagnosis had come too late to prevent him from suffering a serious brain injury. Now six year of age, Eoghan is tetraplegic and cannot talk.

On her son´s behalf, Martina Keating made a claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation against the Health Service Executive (HSE), alleging that there had been a failure by medical staff at the Waterford Regional Hospital to admit her son or identify the indications of a significant infection. Liability for the medical negligence that resulted in Eoghan´s condition was acknowledged by the HSE and a €2.5 million interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation was agreed.

As the claim for chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation had been made on behalf of a child, the interim settlement had to be approved by a judge. Consequently the sequence of events leading up to Eoghan´s brain injury and the consequences of his injury were related to Mr Justice Kevin Cross at the High Court. At the hearing, the family was also read an apology by the General Manager of Waterford Regional Hospital – Richard Dooley – for the “deficiencies in care provided to Eoghan”.

After commenting that the Keatings´ “suffering cannot be described or defined”, Judge Cross approved the interim settlement of chicken pox misdiagnosis compensation and adjourned the case for two years to allow for an assessment of Eoghan´s future needs. In two years´ time, the family will return to court for the approval of a second interim compensation settlement unless a system of periodic payments has been introduced in the intervening period.

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Unnecessary Mastectomy Claim for Compensation Starts at High Court

The High Court has started hearing an unnecessary mastectomy claim for compensation, made by a woman who alleges a missed diagnosis of breast cancer.

In November 2011, retired schoolteacher Eileen Fennessy from Piltown in County Kilkenny had her fourth precautionary mammogram via the “Breast Check” National Breast Screening Programme. The result of the mammogram came back as normal but, in October 2012, Eileen´s GP identified a large mass in her right breast and referred her to Waterford Regional Hospital.

At the Waterford Regional Hospital, an ultrasound and biopsy confirmed the presence of a grade 2 carcinoma and Eileen immediately underwent a course of chemotherapy. Unfortunately the chemotherapy treatment failed to reduce the carcinoma and, in April 2013, sixty-nine year old Eileen had her right breast removed in a mastectomy procedure.

Following her discharge from hospital, Eileen sought legal advice and made an unnecessary mastectomy claim for compensation. She alleged in her claim against the Health Service Executive (HSE) that the mammogram taken in November 2011 should have raised suspicions of cancer and she should have recalled for a further investigation.

The failure to conduct a further investigation – it was alleged – exposed Eileen to the unnecessary risk of her condition deteriorating, the unnecessary chemotherapy treatment and an unnecessary mastectomy. The HSE denied the allegations and contested the unnecessary mastectomy claim for compensation. As a result, the case proceeded to the High Court in Dublin.

At the High Court, Eileen´s barrister told Mr Justice Kevin Cross that, although the treatment was successful in removing the cancer – and subsequent check-ups have failed to reveal the disease manifesting in other locations – the underlying diagnosis for Eileen´s future is “extremely serious and devastating”. The case continues at the High Court.

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Compensation for a Patient in a Coma Approved at the High Court

A €550,000 interim settlement of compensation for a patient in a coma due to alleged medical negligence has been approved at a hearing of the High Court.

In October 2011, seventy-one year old Robert Bolton – a former funeral director and talented musician – underwent surgery at St James Hospital in Dublin. The surgery on Robert´s oesophagus was initially considered successful. However, the following morning James suffered a heart attack due to a respiratory failure caused by sepsis.

Robert was moved to the intensive care unit of the hospital, where his condition deteriorated and he suffered a hypoxic ischaemic brain injury. He has been in a coma ever since – oblivious to the presence of his family and unable to communicate. Robert now relies of twenty-four hour specialist care to provide his basic needs.

Robert´s wife – Angela – engaged a solicitor to investigate the standard of care Robert had received after his surgery and throughout his stay in the intensive care unit. She subsequently claimed compensation for a patient in a coma on her husband´s behalf, alleging that the hospital had failed to diagnose Robert´s sepsis or identify that he was suffering from organ failure as a result.

The hospital contested the claim, but acknowledged that there had been failings in the standard of care. A €550,000 interim settlement of compensation for a patient in a coma was negotiated to ensure that Robert receives the care he needs for the next two years – after which a final settlement of the claim will be determined.

As the claim for compensation for a patient in a coma had been made on behalf of a plaintiff unable to represent themselves, the case went to the High Court for an approval hearing before Mr Justice Kevin Cross. Judge Cross was told the circumstances of Robert´s heart attack, its probable cause, and the consequences of his condition to his wife and family.

After Angela told Judge Cross the family was happy that Robert´s care would be provided for, the judge approved the interim settlement of compensation for a patient in a coma – commenting that the interim settlement was clearly the result of hard bargaining. The judge then closed the approval hearing, wishing Angela and her family all the best for the future.

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Settlement of Compensation for the Misdiagnosis of Meningitis Approved

A settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis has been approved for a widow told her husband´s condition was due to constipation.

Philip Morrissey from Kilkenny visited his GP on 26th May 2010 complaining of headaches, a high temperature and an earache. He was referred to the A&E Department of St Luke´s Hospital and admitted after being found to have a high pulse rate and an intolerance to light.

Six hours after his admission, Philip´s wife – Gail – noticed that he was drowsy and disorientated. She raised her concerns with the hospital staff, but was told that Philip´s condition was due to him being constipated.

However, the following morning – two days before his fortieth birthday – Philip was found dead in his hospital bed having suffered a cardiac arrest. The cardiac arrest was later attributed to streptococcal pneumonia meningitis.

After seeking legal advice, Gail claimed compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – alleging that there had been a failure to consider that meningitis was the cause of Philip´s symptoms, and that there had been no adequate attempt made to diagnose his condition and treat it.

An investigation into Philip´s death revealed that he had not been seen by a hospital doctor since 3:40pm the day before his death. The Health Service Executive (HSE) admitted liability and a settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis was negotiated amounting to €455,000.

Due to the nature of Philip´s death, the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis had to be approved before the claim could be resolved. The approval hearing was held earlier this week at the High Court before Mr Justice Michael Hanna.

At the hearing, Judge Hanna was told the circumstances of Philip´s admission into St Luke´s Hospital and the treatment Philip received. The court also heard a statement read out to Philip´s family apologising for the standard of care he had received at the hospital.

Judge Hanna subsequently approved the settlement of compensation for the misdiagnosis of meningitis – saying that the family had suffered a “huge tragedy” and, while the compensation settlement could never make up for Philip´s loss, it was the best the law could do.

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