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Family of Woman Who Died After Receiving Half Epilepsy Drug Dose Awarded €260,000

The family of Kathleen Leech who passed away due to a charting mistake lead to her only getting half her necessary epilepsy medication treatment for 23 days have settled their High Court action over her wrongful death for €260,292.

The 68-year-old mother of five adult children from Co Wexford died at Peamount Healthcare nursing home, Newcastle, Co Dublin on June 30 2012 after her caring staff failed to recognise that she had only received a single daily dose of Keppra, an anticonvulsant to stabilise her epilepsy, despite the fact that she should have also been allocated a second daily dose.

Her husband, Gregory Leech senior,  took a legal action for wrongful death compensation. In a separate action her children – Noreen, John, and Gregory Leech junior, and Marian Dalton and Kathleen Caulfield – sued for nervous shock.

Along with admitting liability, Peamount Nursing Home issued an unreserved apology for failings in care provided to her. In a letter read out in court on Thursday, the nursing home gave Mr Leech an unreserved apology for failings in care of his wife and for the distress and upset it had caused to the family.

Legal counsel for the family, Barney Quirke SC, informed the court that Mrs Leech suffered a stroke in November 2011. Sadly she never recovered enough to be sent home from Tallaght Hospital but a place was found for her in Peamount in June 2012.

Counsel informed the Court that, following a thorough investigation and a subsequent inquest, a number of major changes have been implemented by the management of Peamount to ensure that a mistake like this does not occur again.

On the day she arrived at Peamount Ms Leech was taking 21 medications. However, in a sad turn of events, the pharmacy was closing and it was not recorded that she required to be administered with two doses of Keppra. Due to this Ms Leech went 23 days without her second daily dose. Following suffering a major seizure and was returned to Tallaght Hospital. However, it was too late to save her a she had developed an infection and passed away on June 30.

The case was settled for €260,292 and all of Mrs Leech’s children agreed to waive their claim to the statutory €25,000 payment to the family in relation to the wrongful death of their mother. Instead the award is to go to their father for him to manage.


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Roscommon Woman awarded €5m over Misdiagnosis Negligence Compensation

Bernadette Surlis, (60), from Co Roscommon has had a settlement of €5 million approved in her action against the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to misdiagnosis negligence in her care and treatment at Sligo General Hospital during November 2013.

Mrs Surlis from Drinaum, Strokestown in Co Roscommon, is now confined to a wheelchair and lives in a nursing home.

The settlement means she should be able to realise her wish to return home, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was told.

Senior Counsel Mr Cush said it was accepted that had Ms Surlis been appropriately and promptly diagnosed and treated, she would not have suffered the injuries. He told the court that liability was admitted.

Ms Surlis, then aged 57, attended Sligo General Hospital on November 3, 2013, as she was suffering from headache, vomiting and dilated left eye pupil, but was triaged as category three and left waiting for three hours. ‘Triaged’ means she was not treated as an immediate emergency and was left waiting to be seen for three hours.

Physicians reviewed her for glaucoma and discharged her. However, she re-attended the next day when the seriousness of her condition was “appreciated for the first time”.

Ms Surlis was transferred to Dublin’s Beaumont Hospital on November 5 as she had suffered hemorrhage and severe and permanent injury. She requires full-time care and Mr Cush said the opinion of experts was that her condition will only marginally improve over the course of her life. She is knowledgeable regarding her condition and has  trouble communicating but can do so with the assistance of her family. Ms Surlis has three adult children and four sisters living close to her.

It is believed that if she had been transferred to Beaumont when she first attended the hospital, she could have been treated successfully and made a full recovery.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross said the misdiagnosis compensation settlement was a “reasonable and very good one” and that he hopes the money would provide the best compensation possible for Ms Surlis to live out her life in her own home.



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