HSE Acknowledges Liability in Medical Negligence Dehydration Claim

The Health Service Executive (HSE) has acknowledged failings in their duty of care and apologised to a family who made a medical negligence dehydration claim after their mother died due to multiple organ failure.

The family of Eileen Brady made their medical negligence dehydration claim for compensation after an investigation into the death of their mother at Cavan General Hospital in January 2010 revealed a “catalogue of errors”.

Eileen (65) had been admitted to the Cavan General Hospital after her GP had diagnosed that her mouth ulcers were attributable to a poor fluid intake. Eileen was already undergoing chemotherapy in Dublin for stomach cancer and, due to her veins collapsing, the dehydration treatment she received at Cavan General Hospital was ineffective.

However, medical experts determined that Eileen´s death due to organ failure could have been prevented had medical staff at the hospital paid closer attention to Eileen´s medical chart, consulted senior doctors when Eileen´s condition continued to deteriorate, or spoken with specialists in Dublin who were treating Eileen for cancer.

Following the investigation, Eileen´s son – Martin Brady from Crosskeys in County Cavan – made a medical negligence dehydration claim for compensation against the Cavan General Hospital and HSE, alleging that he and other members of the Brady family had suffered mental distress due to their mother´s tragic and avoidable death.

The HSE admitted liability, and the medical negligence dehydration claim was settled out of court for an undisclosed sum; however, as part of the settlement, the family wanted a public apology read to them in court. Consequently, at the High Court in Dublin, Ms Justice Mary Irvine instructed barristers representing the HSE to read the apology.

The statement said that the hospital and HSE apologised for the failings in their duty of care which resulted in Eileen´s death, and the grief and stress that had been suffered by her family and friends as a result. Responding on behalf of the family, Aidan Brady said he hoped both Cavan General Hospital and the HSE had learned from “the grave mistakes” made in the care of his mother – after which Ms Justice Mary Irvine extended her personal sympathy to Eileen´s family.