All Posts in Category: Wrong Diagnosis Compensation

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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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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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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Woman Settles Claim for Missed Diagnosis of Broken Knee

A woman who had been hoping to compete in the Special Olympics, until it was discovered that a hospital had overlooked a fracture to her knee, has settled a claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee after a High Court hearing.

Amy Rose McGowan (31) from Trim in County Meath made her claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee after it was discovered that medical staff in the Emergency Department of Our Lady´s Hospital in Navan, County Meath, had failed to diagnose a fracture in her knee while she was in training for the Special Olympics in Athens.

Amy had fallen and hurt her knee during a 50 metre sprint race, and had been taken to Our Lady´s Hospital for a precautionary x-ray on May 8th 2009. At the hospital, an x-ray was taken, but doctors overlooked the depressed fracture and diagnosed Amy´s injury as soft tissue damage.

It was only a few months later, when Amy attended her GP because of a pain in her knee that the fracture was discovered. Unfortunately for Amy, it was too late for operative or corrective intervention, and she missed her opportunity to qualify for the games. It is likely that Amy will also need to have knee replacement surgery later in life because of the hospital´s negligence.

Amy made a claim for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee and, after an investigation at Our Lady´s Hospital, the Health Service Executive admitted liability for her injuries. A settlement of €142,000 was agreed, but had to first be approved in the High Court – where it was heard by Mr Justice Michael Peart.

In the High Court, Judge Peart heard how Amy had previously won 34 medals and 10 trophies in the area of athletics and swimming before the accident. He said he was “very impressed and full of admiration” for her and that it was a pity that her athletics career had been cut short.

The judge approved the settlement of compensation for the missed diagnosis of a broken knee and wished Amy a happy life with her family before adjourning the hearing.

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Resolution of Wrong HIV Test Results Claim Delayed

A woman, who was incorrectly informed that she had the HIV virus, will have to wait for the resolution of her wrong HIV test results claim after a High Court judge reserved judgement on the case.

Michelle Kenny from Crumlin in Dublin attended the St James Hospital in Dublin on 17th August 2010 due to feeling unwell on her return from a holiday in Majorca. After a chest x-ray and an ECG led doctors to believe that Michelle had a blood clot on her lung she was admitted to the hospital where she remained for a week.

Following her discharge, thirty-five year old Michelle returned to the Outpatients Clinic for an assessment on October 6th; where she underwent a blood test for TB. Michelle also consented to being tested for HIV, and the following week the doctor rang her to give her the results of the tests.

After explaining that she was clear of TB, the doctor said that the blood test for HIV indicated that she was positive for the virus and that she should undergo a further test to make sure. Michelle was devastated and, despite three further tests indicating that she did not have the virus, she withdrew from her social environment and suffered symptoms indicating a nervous shock.

When it was discovered that the original test results were not hers, Michelle contacted a solicitor and made a wrong HIV test results claim for compensation against St James Hospital – alleging that the mix-up had caused her severe emotional distress.

The hospital contested the claim – arguing that the error had been identified within a short space of time, and that Michelle had suffered no loss or damage as a result. Michelle and her legal representatives pursued the claim for wrong HIV test results compensation, and the case was heard by Ms Justice Bronagh O’Hanlon at the High Court.

After hearing the details of Michelle´s compensation claim for the wrong HIV test results, and the defence offered by St James´ Hospital, Judge O´Hanlon reserved judgement on the case for a later date.

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Most Medical Malpractice Claims against GPs are for Wrong Diagnosis says RCSI

According to a report commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), most medical malpractice claims against GPs are for wrong diagnosis.

The report – researched for the RCSI and recently published in the British Medical Journal – was compiled by the Centre for Primary Care Research in Dublin after more than seven thousand medical malpractice claims against GPs had been analysed. Its objective was to identify which areas of primary care required specific attention when developing risk management systems for primary healthcare practitioners and planning future educational strategies.

“The Epidemiology of Malpractice Claims in Primary Care: A Systematic Review” found that the most common reason for medical malpractice claims against GPs were for the missed or delayed diagnosis of cancer – specifically breast cancer, colon cancer, lung cancer and cancer of the female genital tract – medication errors (prescribing and administering) and, in children, the failure to correctly diagnose appendicitis and meningitis.

Lead researcher Dr Emma Wallace – who is herself a GP – acknowledged that medical malpractice claims against GPs were not the ideal substitute for adverse events, but commented that when medical malpractice claims are made against GPs, the doctors against whom the claims are made often suffer increased stress levels – reducing their effectiveness, and placing more patients at risk of a misdiagnosis or medication error.

Dr Wallace also highlighted the fact that GPs are more frequently practicing defensively due to the risk of litigation, and referring patients to consultants rather than make a diagnosis themselves. This unwillingness to use their experience to make a diagnosis can lead to patients´ conditions deteriorating further (due to the delay in seeing a consultant) and ultimately create more pressure on an under-resourced health service.

She hopes that the “systematic review is timely considering the increased interest in focusing on primary care as a way of improving patient care and safety” and that the report will provide an insight into the types of adverse events in clinical practice and the reasons for them happening, which would reduce the number of medical malpractice claims against GPs in Ireland and have the effect of increasing the standard of primary care provided.

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Family Settle Claim for Death due to a Wrong Diagnosis out of Court

A family from County Mayo have settled their compensation claim for death due to a wrong diagnosis against the Health Service Executive out of court.

The claim was made in relation to the death of Eileen Maloney – a 69-year-old mother of thirteen from Pullathomas in County Mayo – who had attended the Mayo General Hospital in February 2009 complaining of severe abdominal pains.

Eileen – who was suffering from cancer at the time – was admitted into hospital after an X-ray revealed a small obstacle in her small bowel. However, as it was a Sunday when Eileen was admitted, no doctor was available to review the x-ray for the possibility of a perforated bowel.

A CT scan taken during the following week clearly indicated that a tumour had developed in Eileen´s bowel but no review was conducted of the scan to identify whether Eileen was suffering from a perforated bowel and, despite her ongoing pain, surgery was scheduled for six days later.

Despite Eileen´s surgery being successful, she died from the effects of the misdiagnosis five days later – a tragedy which could have been avoided according to a member of the medical team, if Eileen´s condition had been correctly identified and promptly treated when she was first admitted into the hospital.

Following a formal investigation, Eileen´s family made a compensation claim for a death due to a wrong diagnosis to account for the mental anguish they had suffered. The Health Service Executive (HSE) denied that it was responsible for Eileen´s wrongful death, but the family pursued their claim and, shortly it was due to be heard in court, Mr Justice Michael Peart heard that a settlement had been agreed.

Under the terms if the settlement, the HSE will pay Eileen´s family €50,000 without admission of liability in return for them withdrawing the compensation claim for death due to a wrong diagnosis. After hearing that the family were satisfied with the agreement, Mr Justice Michael Peart approved the settlement.

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Increase in Health Service Complaints Announced by Health Service Executive

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has announced an increase in the number of Health Service complaints it received during 2012, with fewer being attended to within the promised 30 days.

The Executive recorded a total of 6,613 complaints during 2012, with 3,049 directly related to the standard of care received by patients throughout the year – an increase of 27 percent over 2011. Other complaints related to avoidable delays in treatment (805) and a lack of communication from hospital staff (600).

Further increases were registered in the number of complaints relating to errors in clinical judgement (up 37 percent on 2011), while other categories in which there was a significant poor standard of care included nursing homes, infection control and hospital accommodation. The largest number of Health Service complaints originated from the HSE South region.

The figures released by the HSE also revealed that only 69 percent of Health Service complaints are attended to within the 30 period advertised on the HSE web site – an alarming statistic considering that the complaints procedure is an avenue for victims of hospital negligence to identify why an error has occurred and what should be done to remedy it when answers are not forthcoming from medical staff (the ‘lack of communication’ mentioned above).

Important Information about Health Service Complaints in Ireland

The Health Service complaints procedure in Ireland is an important part of the process if you have suffered a loss, an injury or the avoidable deterioration of an existing condition due to a breach in the duty of care owed to you by a medical practitioner and wish to make a claim for hospital negligence compensation.

How and when you should make a complaint to the Health Service may be determined by the nature of the injury you have sustained and, to avoid possible contradictions when you later make a claim for hospital negligence compensation, it is recommended that you seek advice from an experienced medical negligence solicitor before making an official complaint against the Health Service in Ireland.

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Family Awarded Compensation for a Fatal Hospital Misdiagnosis

The family of an eight-year-old boy, who died after being mistakenly discharged from hospital with a streptococcal infection, have been awarded €160,000 in the High Court in compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis.

Richard de Souza from Athy, County Kildare had been taken to the Midland Regional Hospital in Portlaoise by his parents in February 2011 due to developing a lump on the left side of his body while suffering from chicken pox.

The doctor in the A&E Department diagnosed Richard as having an infection and discharged him, despite the patient displaying a high temperature and high pulse and heart rate, prescribing a three-day course of antibiotics.

Later that evening Richard complained of being thirsty and became delirious, and the following morning collapsed on the floor of the family home. Richard´s mother summoned an ambulance, but when paramedics arrived, Richard was already in a state of cardiac arrest was declared dead on arrival at the Midland Regional Hospital.

After discovering that Richard´s cause of death was a streptococcal infection which led to toxic shock syndrome, and that it could have been successfully treated by intravenous antibiotics had Richard been admitted to hospital, Ralmon and Flavia de Souza made a claim for compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis.

Following an investigation into the claim, the Midland Regional Hospital and the Health Service Executive admitted liability for Richard´s wrongful death and a settlement of compensation for a fatal hospital misdiagnosis was negotiated to include the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder both parents had been diagnosed with following the tragic and avoidable death of their son

 At the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine heard a representative of the Midland Regional Hospital read out an apology to the family before approving the €160,000 settlement of the claim for a hospital fatal misdiagnosis.

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