Claim for Wrongful Death due to Medication Error Settled Out of Court

The widow of a man, who died after receiving hospital treatment for an infected toe, has settled her claim for wrongful death due to a medication error out of court.

Margaret Devereux from Greenrath in County Tipperary made her compensation claim for wrongful death due to a medication error following her husband´s death in Cork University Hospital in March 2008.

John Devereux had originally attended the South Tipperary General Hospital in Clonmel in January 2008 with a toe infection on his right foot. Doctors diagnosed that he was suffering with septic arthritis, prescribed Sodium Fusidate to treat the infection and sent him home.

However, John returned to South Tipperary General Hospital the following month after experiencing pains in his arms and legs. The toe infection had got no better, so he was administered with further doses of Sodium Fusidate and kept in for observation.

John´s condition deteriorated and it was later diagnosed that he was suffering with rhabdmoloysis – a condition in which the muscles break down – which may have been due to a conflict between the Sodium Fusidate that had been prescribed for him and his existing diabetic medicine, Lipitor.

As a consequence of the muscle breakdown, John developed acute renal failure, and he was transferred to Cork University Hospital where he died on March 2nd.

John´s grieving widow took legal advice about whether she had a claim for wrongful death due to a medication error which was worth her while to pursue, and despite the Health Service Executive denying that it had been in breach of its duty of care, a settlement of compensation was negotiated.

At the High Court in Dublin, Mrs Justice Mary Irvine heard that Margaret Devereux had settled her claim for wrongful death due to a medication error for €45,000 and, commenting that there would have been a “huge hill to climb to establish liability”, approved the settlement – describing the case as very tragic.