‘Delay’ on CT Scan for Bleed on Brain Assault Victim Leads to €750k Medical Negligence Compensation Award

A individual who took a medical negligence compensation action against a hospital in relation to the care he was given after he was assaulted has settled his High Court damages action for €750,000.

45-year-old Francis Cunningham, who is now restricted to a wheelchair, had a wound on the back of his head when he had been taken to St James’s Hospital in Dubln after the assault, which took place in 2010. His legal representative, barrister Oisin Quinn SC, argued that Mr Cunningham, who was found to have bleeding on the brain after having a CT scan, should have had the scan earlier. Is this course of action had been followed he would have had brain surgery earlier and, more than likely, he would have been able to walk and live independently

Mr Cunningham, of Casement Park, Finglas, Dublin, via his brother James, of the same address, took the failure to act compensation case against St James’s Hospital over the tretment he was given on October 2, 2010, following an assault that had happened nearby.

It was claimed by Mr Cunningham’s legal team that:

  1. There was a failure to properly examine Mr Cunningham when he was taken to the hospital by ambulance.
  2. There was an alleged failure to treat him with proper urgency, particularly due to his head injuries.
  3. There was a failure to conduct any suitable observation or monitoring of his condition.

It was noted that when Mr Cunningham was taken to the hospital A&E at 3.26pm that his primary complaint was alcohol and his secondary complaint a wound. Two hours later when he was further examined, it was noted Mr Cunningham was intoxicated and not verbalising and had a wound on the back of the head.

It was alleged that a CT scan three hours later indicated bleeding on the brain and he was taken to a different hospital for brain surgery. It was claimed at this stage his clinical condition had greatly deteriorated.

St James’s Hospital accepted that it was in breach of duty in that an examination of Mr Cunningham at 5.20pm should have resulted in a request for a CT brain scan to be conducted at that point i time. All other claims were denied by the defendants.

In approving the medical negligence compensation settlement, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was an appropriate amount and he wished Mr Cunningham well for the future.

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