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.