€12m Hospital Negligence Settlement Approved for Girl (9)

Yesterday at the High Court a €12m hospital negligence compensation settlement was approved for a nine-year-old girl who sustained brain damage as, it was claimed, she was not admitted quickly enough after she contracted bacterial meningitis.

The medical negligence compensation action was taken against the Health Service Executive (HSE) by Cabrini Fallon on behalf of her daughter Robyn Kilgallon in relation to the treatment she was administered with at Sligo General Hospital on February 1, 2011, when she was only 10 months old.

The court heard Robyn’s parents took her to the hospital following a referral from a GP who was concerned the child had a viral infection. Even though Robyn was showing symptoms such as a high temperature and vomiting, had little control of her movement and had eyes rolling in the back of her head, she was sent home by a junior doctor as, her parents were told,  the outcomes of Robyn’s blood tests did not suggest that there was anything that appeared to be a serious worry.

However, when Robyn’s condition did not subsequently improve and she was readmitted to the hospital on the morning of February 2. At this time the young girl was very ill, unresponsive and had a seizure. She was taken to an intensive care unit where she was incubated. Not long after this she (Robyn) was reviews and her condition was deemed to be a serious nature to the extent that she was transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast for specialist treatment.

Robyn now suffers from significant development delay and experiences difficulty communicating with others and walking.

In the legal action it was claimed the HSE had been guilty of medical negligence as Robyn had not been admitted and treated her for the suspected bacterial infection. Furthermore it was alleged that this failure to admit Robyn, of Caltragh Road, Sligo lead to her suffering brain damage.

The court was informed that Robyn’s mother and her father, Declan Kilgallon, are hoping to move to a house which will be more suitable to the restrictions that Robyn experiences due to their injuries. The family solicitor, Donnacha Anhold, read out a statement in court on behalf of the family. It said Robyn had been a perfectly healthy young child at the time that she was brought to Sligo General. Mr Arnold added that the HSE has issued an apology to the Kilgallon family last week, for which the family was extremely grateful.

He went on to say that he family had not been informed of the measures that the HSE plans to implement to prevent something this from happening in the future. There has been nothing produced so far in relation to this,

Liability in the action was admitted in the hospital negligence legal action and presiding Judge Justice Cross said he was satisfied to give his approval for the settlement figure agreed.

 

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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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€1.5m Settlement for Family of Woman Kept on Life Support over Eighth Amendment Worries

The family of a deceased young mother who was pregnant and kept alive on life support due to doctors’ concerns about the Eighth Amendment have been awarded a €1.5m settlement including expenses.

Ms Perie was pronounced brain dead in late November 2014 at 26 years of age when she was 15 weeks pregnant. She had been kept alive on life support for an additional four weeks after this due to doctors’ concerns about the implications of the Eighth Amendment – since repealed – for the foetus. Life support was discontinued after her family obtained High Court orders to that end on December 26, 2014.

Of the final settlement, that was awarded for failings in care at Midland Regional Hospital in Mullingar, €1.3m will go to Natasha Perie’s two children, now aged 11 and nine. Her father Peter Perie later took proceedings in which the main claim was for damages for his two grandchildren, the girl now aged 11 and the nine-year-old boy, in relation to the loss of their mother’s care. Both children, who were born to separate men, had been residing with their mother in Mr Perie’s home but, since her death, have been living with their respective fathers.

The HSE admitted liability in the case but argued the extent of damages sought, some €3.2m. The State Claims Agency which had offered some €1.5m on behalf of the HSE. Nervous shock claims by seven family members were previously settled and Ms Perie’s daughter received €150,000 in those proceedings.

Ms Justice Deirdre Murphy heard the larger fatal dependency case, beginning yesterday, after a mediation failed to secure agreement and the €1.5m offer made earlier this week was not accepted.

An apology had been issued by the HSE for the family last November from the Mullingar hospital and the HSE in relation to issues with Ms Perie’s care at the hospital in late 2014. She was pronounced brain dead days after her admission there on November 27, 2014, but was then kept on life support.

Evidence was presented to Justice Murphy, from members of his extended family and the children’s fathers and relevant medics, in relation to the impact on the children of seeing their mother on life support. Dr Frances Colreavy said Ms Perie’s eyes did not shut properly. She said nurses informed her the children, especially the then six-year-old girl, were upset, with both refusing to touch their mother. The condition of the girl was referred to as “inconsolable”. A care expert also told the Court that both children would require live-in nannies until they left home. The judge expressed reservations about that and certain other aspects of the legal action.

However yesterday morning, following mediation talks, Mr Justice Kevin Cross was asked by Jonathan Kilfeather SC, instructed by Gillian O’Connor solicitor, of Michael Boylan Litigation, to approve the €1.5m offer.

 

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HSE apologises to Family over Father’s 2011 Death Due to Medical Misadventure

An apology was issued by the Health Service Executive (HSE) to the family of a man in relation to his death at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny in 2011.

John Joseph Comerford was brought to the hospital in Kilkenny during March 2011 for hernia repair surgery. Unfortunately, the High Court was told, the 68-year-old passed away three days later in “very distressing circumstances”. An inquest into his death in 2014 returned a verdict of medical misadventure.

The family said that Mr Comerford was brought back to hospital two days following his hernia surgery with shortness of breath, abdominal pain and low blood pressure. A CT scan showed fluid in his abdominal wall and after the site of the operation was opened again, faecal smelling fluid was drained away from the area. When he was admitted to the intensive care unit, he suffered two cardiac arrests and passed away on 21 March 2011. As a result of his death, Mr Comerford’s family initiated a medical negligence case against the HSE. In the case liability was admitted by the HSE and the case was settled for an undisclosed sum.

An apology from the HSE on behalf of St Luke’s General Hospital was read out before the court. it said: “We apologise to Mrs Comerford and to her children and extended family for the events leading to the death of Mr John Joseph Comerford in the 21st of March 2011. We do not underestimate the distress and sadness caused to Mrs Comerford and her children by the loss of their husband and father. We offer our sincere condolences”.

Mr Comerford’s daughter Karen Brown, speaking outside the court, said she is happy the case has finished but is “disgusted” that it has taken this so long for this to be achieved. She said: “It feels very sad that it’s taken this long to happen. It’s sad my kids have missed out on their granddad. They adored him for the little time they knew him”.

Mr Comerford’s son, David, also made a statement following the case and described his father as an keen gardener who came to Ireland from the UK to retire in the late 1990s. He said his dad was very fond of the allotments and carried on working as a builder when he came here. He and his sister said their mother, who is now in her late 70s and was not in court on the day, had to move back to the UK since her husband’s death to be nearer to her children. he said: “You mourn your loved ones and it never goes away, but this just brings it to the surface time and time again. You think of him every day.”

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Cancer Patient (67) Died After Discharging Herself from Overcrowded Mater Hospital

At Coroner’s Court in Dublin an inquest has heard how a 67-year-old cancer patient  died four days after she was permitted to discharge herself from the Mater Hospital due to overcrowding.

Family members, speaking following the inquest, said their mother, Elizabeth Leavy from Montpellier Road, Dublin 7 was left waiting on a hospital trolley for six hours. They, the family members stayed alongside her all evening but they were not aware her condition was so serious.

Her daughter Joy, speaking about the events at the Mater Hospital, said: “She was left in the hallway beside the bins. She was afraid, in pain, uncomfortable and she was hallucinating. She couldn’t stick it. We waited all night with her for test results and they told us she was okay. If we had of known they wanted to do more research we would’ve made her stay. She was left on a trolley in a hallway for six hours, a cancer patient, she’d had enough.

She described the pivotal role and position that her late Mother played in their family: “She was bubbly, fun, she saw the good in everyone and everything.”

Mrs Leavy. a mother-of-eight, who was first diagnosed with oral and bowel cancer in 2017, passed away four days after she discharged herself from the hospital. She was discovered at her home in an unresponsive condition on the morning of January 22 2018.

The inquest was told the Mrs Leavy’s death was caused by cardio-respiratory arrest due to multi-drug toxicity. The woman had toxic levels of the opiate based pain medications Tramadol and Oramorph in her system, which had built up over time. A post-mortem report indicated that the woman’s cancer was not active but she had chronic inflammation of the liver due to the accumulation of medications.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said: “These medications act centrally in the respiratory centre and it impedes your breathing. Your breathing stops and your heart stops and I think that is what happened that morning. The build-up of the medications in her system caused her death.”

Speaking in relation to the overcrowding at the hospital when Mrs Leavy was admitted Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the Mater Hospital Dr Tomas Breslin said: “Overcrowded conditions bring a higher risk of dying. Every nurse and doctor knows this is a massive problem for patients, it affects their care and their outcomes. I reviewed [Mrs Leavy’s] notes in detail. There were questions we didn’t know the answer to and that would have been the reason for keeping her in the department. That being said, you can understand why, when there is no clear issue, a person would decide to leave”.

The coroner returning a verdict of misadventure, said: “She’d gone through a lot of treatment and seemed to be doing well. It’s very tragic, she obviously had a loving and attentive family”.

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Vaginal Mesh Class Action Won Against Johnson & Johnson in Australia

 A long-running class action lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J) over vaginal mesh implants has been won by more than 1,350 Australian women.

It was ruled in Australia’s Federal Court J&J subsidiary Ethicon had not issued a sufficient warning to patients and surgeons in relation to the “risks” posed by the products they were using. The vaginal mesh implants were often put in place to address pelvic organ prolapse and incontinence that occurred in the aftermath of childbirth.

Some patients in the legal action said they had suffered chronic pain, bleeding and severe discomfort during sexual intercourse after having the mesh surgically implanted.

Judge Anna Katzmann ruled that much of the information the company provided about the products was “inaccurate” and at times made “false representations”. Damages will be set next year. During he ruling she said: “The risks were known, not insignificant and on Ethicon’s own admission, serious harm could ensue if they eventuated.”

Ethicon defended its record and said it would consider an appeal and released a statement which said: “Ethicon believes that the company acted ethically and responsibly in the research, development and supply of these products.”

The original claimant in the case Julie Davis said: “They have treated women essentially like guinea pigs, lied about it and done nothing to help”. This ruling comes after the Australian government  last year issuing a national apology to women affected by vaginal mesh, acknowledging decades of “agony and pain”.

The case is one of a series of lawsuits J&J faces over the products around the world. Last October, the company committed to paying almost $117m (£90.5m) to settle claims in relation to pelvic mesh in 41 US states and the District of Columbia. There are also a number of lawsuits over the product in Canada and Europe, including Ireland.

US Medical Expert says Vaginal Mesh is ‘Not Safe’

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Man settles €21m case after 17-year battle for Cerebral Palsy Compensation

At the High Court yesterday a 24-year-old Connor Corroon with cerebral palsy took a legal action in relation to the circumstances of his birth at a Cork hospital settled for a final lump sum payment of €17.5m.

The High Court approval of the final payment, one of the largest ever recorded in the State, signals the finish to a 17-year legal battle by the Corroon family. It mean the overall amount of payments made to Connor is €21.75m. Connor cannot walk unaided and must use a wheelchair to get around. He is only able to communicate with the help of special eye gaze technology.

Mr Corroon said: “Today represents the end of 17 long years. I feel free and today my life begins.” In relation to the final settlement he said: “I am happy with that. I am proud that for the first time ever I was able to speak in public and let people know what I wanted to convey rather than others guessing what I was thinking. The experience has been so liberating.”

In 2010 Conor’s case was adjourned on an interim as the legislation allowing for annual periodic payments involving the catastrophically injured was awaited. As a result of this Connor’s mother Jude pleaded with the court to permit a lump sum payment so the family could get on with their live. She asked that they allow the family to shif away from the “fishbowl life” as her son endured assessments by different specialists in advance of regular court appearances.

The court was told during an earlier hearing that Mr Corroon, of Copstown, Mallow, Co Cork, sustained catastrophic injuries when he was born at City General Hospital, Cork, in 1995 and will require care for the remainder of his life.

Mr Corroon’s legal representative David Holland SC returned to the High Court last week for a final lump sum birth injury compensation settlement. They informed the Judge that expert advice they received stated that, due to indexation, the annual periodic payment allowed for in the new legislation “will get more and more insufficient over time”. Mr Holland informed the Court that the family found the “burden of coming to court intolerable and horribly intrusive”.

Liability was conceded and the case was before the court for assessment of damages only.

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Record €23m Payout Made by the Health Service Executive to 14-year-old Brain-damaged Boy

A final once-off payment of €20m had been agreed in a birth injury compensation settlement between and Health Service Executive (HSE) and a 14-year-old boy who allegedly suffered brain damage at birth in a Cork hospital.

The boy in question, Lee Gibson of Carrigaline, Co Cork, suffers with cerebral palsy and cannot talk and has to use a wheelchair. It brings to a record €23m the total paid to the young boy and the personal injury compensation settlement against the HSE is the largest so far in the State for this type of legal action.

In the legal action it was claimed that Lee suffered multiple injuries to his brain due to a lack of oxygen and the effect of an untreated infection suffered by his mother. It was also alleged that there was delay of between 91 and 106 minutes before delivery by emergency caesarean section once the decision to go ahead with one had been made. There was also a claim that there was failure to treat the case as an emergency case and to give a candid explanation for what happened and why it did. The claims were denied but liability was later settled in the case.

Approving the final figure, President of the High Court Mr Justice Peter Kelly paid tribute to the teenager’s mother, Aileen Gibson. He said: “Lee makes the best of a life that is possible because of the care of his mother, grandmother and other family support.”

Four years ago, an interim settlement payment of €2m was approved for Lee and in 2017 a further interim payment of €1m was made. On those occasions, liability was also settled in the case.

Speaking outside court, Ms Gibson said that the day was bittersweet. She said: “I must say that today is bittersweet. All the money won’t change what has happened to Lee. We will have to live with that pain forever.”

 

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Swine Flu Vaccine Caused Narcolepsy According to Legal Action of Woman (26)

26-year-old Aoife Bennett has taken a vaccine compensation action as, she claims, she developed narcolepsy after having the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine administered.

Ms Bennet, who  broke down in the High Court while testifying, said that she began suffering waves of excessive tiredness within weeks of having the vaccination administered. She told the court that she was informed that it was her responsibility to get the vaccine as Ireland faced a possible swine flu pandemic in 2009. She went on to say that she would never have had it if she had been are of the possible negative outcomes.

Mr Justice Michael MacGrath was informed that Ms Bennett was just 16 years of age when she had the vaccine in December 2009 as part of a mass vaccination programme. She advised the judge that she was “absolutely exhausted, before this I was very energetic and active. By Christmas Day 2009 the situation had become so bad that  she said she had to drag herself downstairs for Christmas dinner with her family.

A special comfortable chair was provided for Ms Bennett to give evidence from and she snoozed before the judge came to the bench and she was sworn in to give evidence. In addition to this Justice MacGrath told her that she could take any breaks she required during her evidence.

In students were vaccinated at school on a class-by-class basis. Ms Bennett told the Judge that she asked to read a brochure. However she was informed that she did not need to read it. She said “I was reassured it was going to be fine”. She also told the Judge that, when narcolepsy was diagnosed in 2011, she had never heard of it  prior to this point in time.

Ms Bennett, of Lakelands, Naas, Co Kildare, took the vaccination compensation action against the Minister for Health, the HSE, vaccine producer Glaxosmithkline Biologicals and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

The action alleged that Health Service Executive produced brochures misled those who viewed them as to the safety of the Pandemrix vaccine and the alleged risk linked to it being administered. The Judge was informed that the brochures included guidance which was factually incorrect.

The action alleged that Glaxosmithkline requested an indemnity from liability from the State before it would agree to produce the vaccine. The HPRA, it is alleged, was aware there was a different vaccine which had more clinical data to support its safety and efficacy.

All of the defendants in the legal action refute the claims made against them and deny liability.

 

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Mater Private Hospital Compensation of €10,000 made due to Surgical Negligence

A judge has awarded  €10,000 against the Mater Private Hospital after a man, who had been placed under anaesthetic, never had his operation as a critical piece of medical equipment went missing from the surgical team.

At the Circuit Court today, Judge John O’ Connor, was informed that Peter Keegan (31) was scheduled for an operation on his right hip on 25 November 2016, in the Mater Private Hospital, Eccles St, Dublin 7. Keegan, with an address at Woodbine Park, Raheny, Dublin 5 was represented in court by Barrister Conor Kearney, appearing with Mark Tiernan, of Tiernan & Company solicitors. Kearney informed the court that his client had been admitted to the hospital’s short stay procedure unit at 6.45am on the morning in question.

He added that his client had been administered with an anaesthetic at 7.30am. It was during this procedure, when the operation set of instruments had been opened, it was realized that an irrigation extender was not present. it was claimed that the missing piece of equipment had been sent for repair four weeks previously. However, the missing piece had not been replaced. When Mr Keegan came to from the anaesthetic around 8.30am, he was informed that there had been an issue with his operation and it had not been completed.

This caused him some distress until the team of nurses advised him of the mistake that had been made. Mr Keegan informed the judge that he remained very sleepy when he had been discharged a few hours later and he had suffered with stomach pain and nausea in the days following the incident.

Despite the fact that the procedure was rescheduled for ten days later on 5 December, Mr Keegan said he had been worried leading up to the new operation. He informed the judge that he had been extremely nervous about taking the anaesthetic again.

Judge O’Connor accepted there had been medical negligence on behalf of the Mater Private Hospital in what he termed an ‘unfortunate incident’. He added that he believed Mr Keegan had been upset emotionally after the incident. He was, however, lucky that there had been no long-term effects. Judge O’Connor awarded Keegan €10,000 medical negligence compensation damages against the Mater Private Hospital in relation to the case in question.

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